Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Scientists are warning that the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull on Iceland could be the beginning of a surge in volcanic activity that will affect Europe for decades.
Studying eruption patterns over the last thousand years shows an activity cycle lasting around 140 years. Unfortunately, we are coming to the end of a quiet phase that dominated the last fifty years. We could now be approaching a prolonged period of increased volcanic activity.
Besides the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano, there are three or four other larger Icelandic volcanoes building towards an eruption. These bigger siblings could be triggered by their newly active smaller neighbor.
How long could the current eruptions continue? Previous eruptions back in the 1800s lasted fifteen months. But with subterranean earth crust movement creating stress and allowing magma to rise, we could be looking at decades of ash clouds being released over Europe.
Air travel to and from Europe could be disrupted for months, years, decades, not to mention melting ice on Iceland causing massive flooding. We might have to change the name of Iceland to Ashland.
At one point, a radar image showed the ominous face of Eyjafjallajokull's crater.
Every crisis also provides an opportunity for hope and change. President Obama can now name a new Ash Czar, a Volcano Czar, and an Icelandic Crisis Czar. Since he has so many czars, there should also be a Czar Czar to oversee all other czars. This position could be filled by everyone's favorite Star Wars character: Czar Czar Binks.