The Eyjafjallajökull Volcano of Iceland and the Threat it Poses to Transcontinental Air Travel


The Eyjafjallajökull Volcano of Iceland erupted in April of 2010. Following the massive eruption, much of the small island country was in darkness, due to the overwhelming amount of ash in the atmosphere. Iceland is perhaps not regularly at the forefront of our minds, but it’s geographic position puts it s airspace directly in the center of transcontinental air travel between North America and Europe. This, of course spelled big trouble on the week of April 14th, 2010. The relatively obscure (to Americans) Eyjafjallajökull chain of glacial mountains lies across the highly active tectonic meeting place of the North American plate and the European plate. Looking at a tectonic plate map, one can see the unique position that the region is in. Although Iceland is not alone in its tectonically active global arena, it is affected perhaps with more significance than most, in that their island country is nearly split in two by the two tectonic plates. Recent studies have sought to shed light on the importance of the region’s volcanic activity. Located at 63°37’47.68”N, 19°37’12.73”W, the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano commanded center stage when its ash cloud stymied air traffic at 20 of the world’s most bustling airports for several days. The economic impact of shutting these 20 airports was incredibly significant. The tally was figured at some $200-$250 million per day for the airlines themselves alone. This is not to mention the incalculable amounts lost by the business men and women and other individuals whose flights and other matters were impacted by the massive ash cloud. Researchers have employed a wide range of methods concerning the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano’s impact on transcontinental travel. Using charts referred to as “shortest-path trees”, scientists are able to definitively identify paths that aircrafts take with great precision. The shortest-path trees help us to understand the impact that this particular volcano had without actually having to obtain actual accounts and documentation that could be tedious and time consuming to the scientists who work so tirelessly in the name of peace within the marriage of our natural environment and human activity. Also of great importance is the fact that these shortest-path trees instantly provide airports and members of the public with alternate routes of transit, which greatly helps to transcend the “problem” of the volcanic activity. Ultimately, Volcanoes such as the Eyjafjallajokull pose a threat to humans’ way of life. However, it is important to remember that the volcano is essentially the lifesource of the island of Iceland to begin with. Without volcanic eruptions, our land would likely be significantly smaller and slow coming. Therefore, it is imperative to our understanding of the natural world we inhabit to be humbled by the immense activities happening just under our feet. Volcanoes like the Eyjafjallajokull of Iceland are constant reminders that the planet isn’t here for our exploitative means, but rather for her own, naturally occurring agenda, to which we will ultimately yield to when she makes such demands.

Source:

http://rocs.northwestern.edu/projects/resilience/eyjafjallajokull.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8578576.stm

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One response to “The Eyjafjallajökull Volcano of Iceland and the Threat it Poses to Transcontinental Air Travel

  1. PLEASE, let me know what you think of this article, whether or not it is helpful to your research and/or for what purpose it serves you.

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