April 16th Eyjafjallajökull Update…

Mighty busy couple of days in this neck of the woods, and most of it seems to be generated on what is going on in Iceland.  So let me summarize some things from various sources.  First, if you have not had the opportunity to do so, or if you want something much more in depth, I strongly recommend the following web sites:

All three sites are doing a great job covering what is going on.  And sites one and three are long time favorites of mine.

Eyjafjallajökull continues to cause havoc both in the south and southeastern sections of Iceland as well as in the British Isles, the Nordic countries, and the European continent.  The images that I have seen have been stunning, especially of the ash fall in the southeast.  Floods from the melting glacier got folks out of bed and to higher ground again last night, and there are reports that there are significant chunks missing from the ring road (on the order of maybe 500m or so).

For those hoping for a quick resolution to the current air travel woes, I’d say don’t hold your breath.  The Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism site notes that the last eruption of Eyjafjallajökull lasted a little over a year.

The bigger worry for my Icelandic friends is Katla.  Katla is underneath the Mýrdalsjökull close to Vík.  Katla had been pretty regular about going off every 35-50 years in a very violent way.  Katla has fired off little eruptions in 1955 and 1999, but the last real blow-out was in 1860 and the one before that was in 1823.  The one in 1823 was about 6 months after the last Eyjafjallajökull eruption ended.  And therein lies the fear.  As Iceland Review reported earlier today, many believe that Katla “only needs a nudge” to get rolling.  And historically Katla has been about twice as powerful as Eyjafjallajökull.

Along with the destruction and disruption this event has created, some bits of humor have arose, much of which have to do with the so-called Icesave controversy.  One commentator noted that when you provoke Iceland’s four protectors (Griðungur, Gammur, Dreki, and Bergrisi), bad things occur to those who stoked the trouble.  Given that all four are on the Króna coins and Icesave has been all about money, this provocation has created some payback in terms of travel disruptions and economic woes.  Iceland Review noted that there is a bit of humor with mainland Europe and England upset about Iceland’s latest export to their shores, and what the British and Dutch wanted was Cash.  But as there is no “C” in the Icelandic alphabet, instead what they got was ash instead of cash.

For those of you who just recently found me and these mini essays, this is not normally a blog dedicated to volcanic eruptions and such.  I am a photographer based in the United States and this blog is here to discuss my photography and my travels in searching for places and things to photograph.  My tie to Iceland is that I spent parts of 9 years there.  And while I am intensely loyal to the US, there is a special place in my heart for Iceland and her people.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, the Icelanders treated me like a long-lost brother (though as my kids would say, a brother from another mother) and I worry for them much in the same way that I would be concerned about my own family.

My travels in Iceland resulted in a portfolio full of images, many of which can be purchased online and many others can be seen at picturesfromiceland.com.

2230 Update:  The Christian Science Monitor has this set of stunning images of both the current eruption and the earlier eruption in March.  Of biggest concern to the tourism industry is what is current image #13 in the set, which shows the ring road missing chunks.  For towns like Vík and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, a broken ring road is an economic disaster.  It also gives me worry for my friends and former colleagues who work for various industries and governmental agencies that deal with Iceland’s infrastructure.  Long hours ahead for a lot of folks.

~ by Jim Miller on Friday, 16 April 2010.

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