Label: Earth Science Books

April 15, 2010

In Iceland today, hundreds of people have been evacuated as floodwaters rise from the eruption of the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier. This is the second time it has erupted in less than a month. As water gushed down the mountainside, rivers had risen up to 10 feet by Wednesday night.

The volcano’s smoke and ash poses a threat to aircraft because it can affect visibility,  and microscopic debris can get sucked into airplane engines and can cause them to shut down. Airports are closed across Western Europe,  including London’s Heathrow, where up to 180,000 people fly in a typical day.

Photo: Ingolfur Juliusson / Reuters
Smoke billows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull April 14, 2010

Iceland is a volcanic island, so this type of event is not unexpected. I included some spectacular photographs of explosions of Icelandic volcanoes in my Collins/Smithsonian book, VOLCANOES.

In 1963,  an area of the Atlantic Ocean near Iceland began to boil and churn. An undersea volcano was exploding and a new island was being formed. The island was named Surtsey, after the ancient Norse god of fire.

             Simon, Seymour. VOLCANOES. New York: Collins/Smithsonian, 1988.  Page 15
Photo: Solarfilma