Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Iceland Is Experiencing Its Biggest Continuous Volcanic Eruption in Centuries

The last time an Icelandic volcano made headlines around the world was when the tongue-twister Eyjafjallajökull spewed tons of ash into the air in 2010, halting thousands of flights and costing airlines and passengers more than $7 billion in lost revenue.
Despite the power and global impact of that volcano’s several-week-long eruption, it barely affected Iceland, dropping only a small amount of ash near its peak, Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a geophysics and volcanology researcher at the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences told Newsweekduring an interview at his office in Reykjavik at the beginning of October.
But Eyjafjallajökull is paltry compared to the recent eruption of Bardarbunga (or Bárðarbunga in Icelandic), a volcano in a remote area of central Iceland that began venting lava and fumes in earnest on August 31, Sigmundsson said.
By October 1, that eruption had already spewed out more sulfur dioxide than any other Icelandic volcano in the past several hundred years and showed no signs of stopping, said Sigmundsson, whose calm and friendly demeanor, which is common among denizens of this volcano-forged land, contrasted with his message of the volcano’s ominous power.

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