For those who were caught up in the travel problems caused by a cloud a volcanic dust, there’s not much consolation in being told it could have been worst.
The term “volcano” was first used by the Romans to describe
Active volcanoes erupt on a regular basis every so often; some are permanently active. Dormant volcanoes have not erupted for 25 years or over; they will erupt again soon or may be classed as extinct if they have not erupted for centuries; extinct volcanoes have come back to life after centuries of inactivity.
Volcanic activity is associated with movements of the Earth’s tectonic plates. Volcanoes occur within zones within or at the edge of the tectonic plates. About 90 percent of all volcanoes exist in the so-called Ring of Fire along the edges of the
The Laki eruption resulted in what has been called
If Laki was a killer it was dwarfed by Tambora in
More people witnessed Tambora than any other eruption but Krakatau, also in
The late Bronze Age eruption of Santorini off
Air passengers who doubted the wisdom of the flying ban following the April 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull should be reminded of what has happened before. On 24 June 1982 a British Airways 747 flew into an ash plume from
In December 1989 a KLM 747 flew into a volcanic ash cloud from Mount Redoubt in Alaska The aircraft entered the cloud at 25000 ft; all four engines failed. The plane descended for more than 14000 ft before the crew managed to restart the engines.
But perhaps what we should fear most is the larger and more dangerous Katla volcano, named after a witch in Icelandic legend, adjacent to Eyjafjallajökull. In the past 1,000 years, all three known eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have triggered subsequent Katla eruptions.