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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 | , , , | Leave a comment

Icelandic Volcano Eruption—Facts About Volcanoes & Volcanic Ash

An ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland is disrupting air travel in Europe.

(Above–The offending volcano. It is called Eyjafjallajoekull. This name is combination of the worlds “islands”, “mountain” and “glacier”. The picture was taken by a photographer giving his or herself  the name “boaworm” )

(Update–5/21/11–The volcano erupting in Iceland at the moment is a different volcano. However, much of the information in this post is about volcanoes in general, and would be useful to read to learn more overall about the subject. Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.) 

Here is a story from the BBC detailing the eruption.

(Update4/19/10—There is a new ash cloud.)

(Update—4/20/10—Half of EU flights may be in the air by the end of Tuesday.)

(Update–4/21/10—More flights up and running.)

(Update–4/22/10—There are now disputes in Europe about the need for such an extensive flight ban in the aftermath of the eruption.)

(Update–4/25/10–Europe is looking for new ways to deal with a future eruption.)

(Update–4/28/10—A geology professor from the Univ. of Houston offers views on what may have caused the eruption.)

( Update–5/4/10—Another ash threat from the same volcano. Though this one is more limited.)

(Update–5/4/10–Europe is looking at  plans on how to deal with eruptions  in the future.)

(Update–5/5/10–Airports are closed in Ireland and Scotland.)

(Update–5/8/10—Yet more ash in the sky.)

(Update 5/16/10—It goes on and on.)

There are many accounts of what is taking place that you can find on the web or in your local newspaper. (This blog is a big believer in supporting your local newspaper and taking the time to read the news and reflect upon the news with a cup of coffee or in some other civilized way.)

In this post, I’ll address some more basic issues of what is taking place that are not always discussed in news reports.

First of all—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 recently 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.)

The issue from the Icelandic volcano that is causing all the trouble is volcanic ash. 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.

You can see why you would not want something like that clogging up your jet engine.

There are health concerns in Iceland about the effects of this ash.

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.)

April 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Iceland Elects Openly Gay Prime Minister

File:Johanna sigurdardottir official portrait trim.jpg

Iceland has elected the world’s first openly gay leader. 

Prime Minister Johnanna Sigurdardottir is gay.

She also has a last name with 14 letters.  

Above you see a picture of Prime Minister Sigurdardottir.

Here is some information about Prime Minister Sigurdardottir from a London Times article— 

….a historic milestone for the gay and lesbian community worldwide. She lives with a journalist, Jonina Leosdottir, with whom she was joined in a 2002 civil partnership, and has two sons from a previous marriage. It is also a significant personal triumph for a politician who managed to retain, and even increase, her popularity while much of Iceland’s political class were pilloried over the financial crisis engulfing the country. …The new leader is known for allocating generous amounts of public funding to help the disabled, the elderly and organisations tackling domestic violence, and she is seen by many as a unifying character capable of solving tensions in Iceland….After acting as a union organiser when she worked as a flight attendant for Loftleidir Airlines, now Icelandair, in the 1960s and 1970s, Ms Sigurdardottir was elected to Iceland’s parliament in 1978. She served as social affairs minister from 1987-1994 and again from 2007.

Here is a web site about Iceland with many good facts and pictures. 

Please click here for a report on the election from the Seattle Gay News.  

It is true that Seattle, with a population of 582,000, has more people than does Iceland. Iceland has 304,000 people.

No matter—Iceland is a nation and Seattle is only a city.

(Below–Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik. Here is information on visiting Reykjavik. ) 

File:Reykjavík séð úr Hallgrímskirkju.jpeg

Prime Minster Sigurdardottir was appointed to her post last February after the collapse of Iceland’s economy led to the demise of Iceland’s right -of-center government. The main issue in Iceland is the impact of the global financial collapse. Iceland took a big hit last year and there were large street protests.  Please click here to read about economic and political troubles in Iceland.

Prime Minister Sigudardottir’s Social Democrats won 20 seats in the 63 member parliament in the April 25 election. The Greens won 14 seats. A coalition government was formed.

The Icelandic parliament is called the Althing. It literally means the “all-thing” of Iceland. It can trace it roots back to the year 930. Here is the web home of the Althing. 

It seems that for many years the Althing met on the big rock you see drawn below. The Speaker would sit on a high point of the rock.

File:Law speaker.jpg

Should they meet, will Prime Minster Sigudardottir ask President Barack Obama why he opposes gay marriage?

It is excellent that we are making progress and that we are seeing world leaders that are more like the people they represent.

Yet progress is still far away in many nations. ( Including the United States in a number of respects.) Here is a link to Global Voices where you can read about issues of gay rights around the world.   

(  Below–An Icelandic Horse.  This breed was developed in Iceland.

File:Katursnow.jpg

May 15, 2009 Posted by | History, Politics, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment