Volcanoes: The Disruption of Eruption


Northern Europe’s air traffic is at a near-total standstill after windblown ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano spread across Scandinavia and the north of the U.K. While posing little environmental threat in the long term, this silica-rich ash could melt into liquid glass inside aircraft engines, clogging and even stopping them in mid-air.

Pity the U.K’s commercial airline services, set to lose tens of millions a day while disruptions last and if Eyjafjallajökull repeats its performance of 1821, that could be a very long time indeed.


“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”Ursula K. Le Guin

“Don’t dance on a volcano” – French Proverb

Further reading:

“How do volcanoes affect world climate?” – Karen Harpp, Scientific American

” ‘Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans’ – not even close…” – Grist

“Harness volcano power, energy experts say” – Daily Telegraph

“Erupting Volcanoes From Earth As Seen From Space” – Betsy Mason, Wired

Editor’s note: Join us every Friday for our environmental photo essay with Mike Sowden.

Images: rachel thecat and NASA

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.