Eyjafjallajokull. Even when they provide the pronunciation guide, I can’t pronounce it. (ay-yah-FYAH’-plah-yer-kuh-duhl). It’s a Black Swan! Who could have predicted that a volcano in Iceland combined with wind and weather patterns would wreak such havoc, shutting down the EU for days and causing “the biggest airspace shutdown since World War II?”
Because it’s below a glacier, its magma mixes with the melted ice and cools more rapidly than would normally happen causing explosions that eject plumes of volcanic grit up to 30,000 feet into the sky. Unlike the smoke of a fire, which is mostly made of wimpy bits of carbon, this thing is churning out tiny bits of jagged volcanic rock (and if you’ve ever walked up a cinder cone, you know what I mean by “jagged”) and volcanic glass. Where smoke might clog an airplane engine, volcanic “ash” will tear it to pieces. Thus airspace of most of Europe’s been closed down.
All sorts of people are stranded, many suffering the horrible tragedy of being unable to get to weddings, graduations, school, meetings and funerals. Even Prime Ministers. The airline industry is said to be losing at least $200 million a day. Warnings are going out that soon people may not be able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other things taken for granted that must be flown in from all over the world. The event has shown us how interconnected we are.
It’s also shown us how with all our interconnectedness and technology and sophistication how… weak and wimpy and out of control we really are. That’s the part I love about it. As one news story put it, “The eruption was a single act of nature, but it stopped the world in countless ways.”
Not nature, of course, God.
Below is a radar picture of the craters taken by the ELTA radar from an Icelandic Coast Guard airplane. People have compared it to Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream,” a work whose inspiration is thought to come from the blood-red skies caused by the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.
And of course the thing is spewing smoke, ash, glass, rock, CO2 and I don’t know what all else, except that I”m pretty sure it’s pollution on a scale that dwarfs anything man has yet produced.
The poor Green Police. How in the world are they going to deal with the likes of this?