Though airplanes are starting to take off from various parts of continental Europe, UK airspace will remain locked down for at least another day. Eyjafjallajökull’s ill temper has been an unexpected object lesson in the complexity and interconnectedness of our environment, technology, and social networks. Who knew that you needed to factor glaciology and geophysics into of whether hotel rooms would be booked for a day or a week? Or whether President Obama could attend his Polish counterpart’s state funeral? The same phenomenon has deprived Dr. Isis’ hospital of the technetium it needs in its nuclear medicine department. But the natural world is complex enough without the layer of human institutions on top of it. At The Island of Doubt, James Hrynyshyn connects deglaciation and volcanic activity. And at Starts with a Bang!, Ethan Seigel explains a feature of Eyjafjallajökull’s plume that has really captured photographers’ attention: volcanic lightning.
- Volcanic Lightning, Eyjafjallajökull, and how it works
- How Medical Technetium Was Sabotaged By a Volcano
- Global warming, loose women, volcanoes and earthquakes
With flights leaving from continental Europe and British airspace looking like it will reopen tonight, it looks like Volcano Week might be running down (provided Katla doesn’t suddenly erupt). But everyone on SB did such an awesome job on this story that I’ve got to record yesterday’s Buzz here for posterity:
For almost a week now, Eyjafjallajökull’s jet-engine-menacing ash continues to hover over much of Europe. Bleeding money, the airline industry is hoping that ongoing test flights bring back hopeful news, but some pilots are suggesting that commercial travel be grounded for several more days. British airspace will remain closed until at least tomorrow, so the UK has started to send Royal Navy ships to pick up stranded people. With no definitive end to this chaos in sight, a backlash against Europe’s collective ash risk assessment is forming, but geologists know better. Chris Rowan of Highly Allochthonous explains one of the major reasons pockets of ash remain so vexing, while Erik Klemetti of Eruptions continues his excellent overall coverage of this unprecedented disruption. But don’t let billions of dollars of economic disruption get you down; we’re cutting our carbon footprint in a big way and getting some great sunsets out of it in the process.