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Another Volcano Erupts In Iceland—Facts About Volcanoes And Volcanic Ash

Once again a volcano has erupted in Iceland.

From The Herald in Scotland

Airlines have been warned ash from a new volcano erupting in Iceland could cause disruption… This time it’s not the Eyjafjallajokull volcano – which caused massive disruption to flights for a week last April and left 10 million passengers stranded – but another called the Grimsvotn volcano. Ash could reach northern parts of the country by Tuesday and parts of the rest of Britain, France and Spain by Thursday or Friday if the eruption continues at the same intensity. Iceland closed its main international airport and cancelled domestic flights on Sunday as the powerful Grimsvotn sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles into the air.

(Above– The  Grimsvoten volcano as seen from space in a 2004 eruption. Here are facts about the Grimsvoten volcano.)  

This post has some basic information on volcanoes. Often we here about things in the news many times over the years without giving closer thought to what is really taking place.

Often it is the most basic facts that are lost.

For example—What exactly is a volcano?

Here is an explanation of volcanoes from an interview with a scientist conducted by the children’s book publisher Scholastic—

“Volcanoes are really mountains that build taller and taller, with time, as they erupt. That means that molten rock, magma, comes from within the earth and erupts onto the surface. The volcano might be explosive and produce ashes or be effusive and produce lava. The explosions are usually first because there are lots of gases inside the magma. When you have a bottle of soda pop, you do not see any bubbles of gas, but when you open it, bubbles form almost instantly. Once the gas bubbles have all escaped, the soda is flat. Once the magma is flat, a lava flow comes out. Most of the volcanoes from around the Pacific Ocean are composite, which means that there are layers of ashes and lava. Most volcanoes are 10,000 to 100,000 years old — it takes time for them to grow big.”

Here are 11 more facts about volcanoes.

Some volcanoes are underwater. Here is a post I wrote that has many facts about undersea volcanoes.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington reports the following about the origin of the word volcano–

“The word “volcano” comes from the little island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily. Centuries ago, the people living in this area believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the forge of Vulcan — the blacksmith of the Roman gods. They thought that the hot lava fragments and clouds of dust erupting form Vulcano came from Vulcan’s forge as he beat out thunderbolts for Jupiter, king of the gods, and weapons for Mars, the god of war. In Polynesia the people attributed eruptive activity to the beautiful but wrathful Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes, whenever she was angry or spiteful. Today we know that volcanic eruptions are not super-natural but can be studied and interpreted by scientists.”

(Below—A picture of the Vulcano island.)

Here are facts about volcanic ash from the United States Geological Survey. This link gives you all the facts you need about volcanic ash.

From these facts—

“Small jagged pieces of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass the size of sand and silt (less than 2 millimeters (1/12 inch) in diameter) erupted by a volcano are called volcanic ash. Very small ash particles can be less than 0.001 millimeters (1/25,000th of an inch) across. Volcanic ash is not the product of combustion, like the soft fluffy material created by burning wood, leaves, or paper. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and mildly corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet.”

However, if you need even more facts on ash, the BBC has a Q & A.

Iceland is a place with many volcanoes.

The Earth is a complex place with an interesting geology that merits study even when no big disaster is taking place.

Here is a link to Geology. com. There is a great deal of information at this site about the Earth.

A very useful book to learn about these topics is called Earth–The Definitive Visual Guide. I have this book at home and look at it often. It has great pictures and helpful text to help folks understand the world.

There is a lot more to our existence than just freak-show ash clouds that make people study things they might not otherwise consider. Please be someone who is informed and who is curious about as many things as possible. We all the ability to know many things. The information we need to learn these things is all around us if we just make some effort.

(Below—The Cleveland Volcano in Alaska as photographed from space in 2006.)

May 23, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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