Written on: Sun, 18 Apr 2010; 20:48
The EyjafjallajökullLooking at my RSS Reader and probably most newspapers, every second article or so is about the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, the consequences and possible consequences of the eruption and individual persons' opinions on the matter. I even got invited to a Facebook group in honour of the volcano. So I figured I'd follow the flock and discuss this epic episode of natural power, which so effectively disrupted and disrupts human life. Leaving out any form of personal involvement we cannot but have respect for planet Earth and its power.

Amazing weatherBefore actually commencing my discussion of the Eyjafjallajökull I would like to honour the sun for its goodness in allowing me to write this weblog outside while enjoying the lovely warm weather and secretly hoping that this really is the beginning of summer. Also the sun can be thanked for the wonderful sunset it granted us last night and how good it makes life seem just by being there.

Eruption EyjafjallajökullSo, that was my ode to the sun, and now I shall get to the point. Last Wednesday, on the 14th of April 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted for the second time this year. Before that the last eruption was in 1821, continuing until 1823. Is that what we can be expecting this time? It surely is a massive eruption, causing the glaciers to melt, rivers to flood and grounding most air traffic over the European continent.

This last point I believe to be extremely significant, and this is proven by the large amount of media attention that is given to it. The Dutch airspace has been closed since Thursday evening 18.00hrs, and will continue to be closed at least until Monday at 02.00hrs. The British airspace was even earlier to be closed down, and excluding a few domestic and short distance flights is still closed until Sunday midnight. With the ash cloud moving towards the South East countries like Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are also closing their air space. As of late Sunday 43,000 flights have been cancelled, 6 million travelers are stranded and the costs add up to $200 million per day.

So what are the consequences? Well, as a good friend - Huib Koel - quite rightly pointed out in relation to one of my previous weblogs, this grounding of air traffic is far more effective at decreasing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere. So in that sense this probably is very good for mother Earth and indirectly for humankind. Also the ash contains large quantities of (dietary) minerals which are essential for life on earth.

SunsetIf this eruption, like last time, continues for two years, what will happen? Well, I suppose other ways of transportation will be invented. Airplanes with better motors, or maybe someone will finally find the time and money to work out how we can teleport? Wouldn't that be amazing? So the air we breathe is cleaner (the ash poses absolutely no threat to your health), we get the right minerals and may get the chance to design transport for the future without existing companies holding us back. We have even been able to observe an absolutely amazing sunset last Thursday, with the sky in the most beautiful red, purple and orange colours. How much nicer can nature be to us?

Flights cancelledWell, I am quite confident a lot of my readers will disagree with me. I know for a fact that some of them are stuck in parts of the world where they do not necessarily want to be, just because of this expression of power by the volcano. Hundreds of thousands like them are stranded and not able to fly. This has potential sever effects on the economy and certainly on the individual businesses. Important business meetings have had to be cancelled and many cargo flights were not able to deliver. If this continues we may well face greater problems and possibly even shortages, although that is only something that we can expect when the grounding of air traffic continues for much longer.

Almost two hundred years ago, when the Eyjafjallajökull erupted for the last time, the eruption went on for almost two years. It can be rather interesting to think about what would happen if this is the case this time too. If ash clouds continue to flock Europe and possibly spread across the globe. If anyone has any doom scenarios to share, please feel free to do so in the comment area!

Let's just enjoy the airplane-free sky while we can, and await what will happen next!


Indeed, it will be interesting to see what impact this will have. May be people will change their flying-behaviour now that they find out about the beauty of international travel by train!
Written by Aart on Sun, 18 Apr 2010 at 21:15
SO! I could fly, take bus, take a ferry across the channel, then take a train and then a taxi to get back to Aberdeen! :P
I love Eyjafjallajokull for giving me an extended holiday!
Written by Shruti on Mon, 19 Apr 2010 at 13:38
That's a gorgeous picture of you by the way!
Written by Shruti on Mon, 19 Apr 2010 at 14:08
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