PBS Predict Apocalyptic Eruptions in Iceland Skip to content

PBS Predict Apocalyptic Eruptions in Iceland

Having survived the Mayan apocalypse, humankind must find another object of anxiety, as reported by the The New York Times. If the episodes Doomsday Volcanoes and Life on Fire, set to air on PBS tonight, are anything to go by, Iceland with its many volcanoes may bring about Armageddon.

eyjafjallajokull-black02_psThe 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

The 2010 eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, which grounded air traffic for days, was a relatively minor volcanic event as in pointed out on Life on Fire.

“In geological terms, Iceland is very young,” narrator Jeremy Irons says. “It’s still being built. It’s only when an eruption has consequences across the world that the rest of us learn something Icelanders know well: These volcanoes haven’t finished yet.”

Hazel Rymer, one of the volcanologists interviewed on Life on Fire, states eruptions are difficult to predict.

“To understand how a volcano works, you need to make measurements for as long as possible,” she says. “A human lifetime is nothing to the life span of a volcano.”

History is studied. The catastrophic eruption of Laki in 1783 killed more than 20 percent of the Icelandic population and led to worldwide weather disruptions which may have caused the deaths of at least one million people.

In Doomsday Volcanoes, the ash-covered landscape the Laki eruption is likely to have created is described as “a view of Armageddon.”

ESA

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