Why did a remote volcano have such a great effect?

17:24, April 20, 2010      

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A volcanic eruption underneath the fifth largest glacier in Iceland, Eyjafjallajokull, on April 14 caused volcanic dust to sweep across Europe, forcing many airports to close. In discussions of the volcanic disaster, people posed a series of questions: Why was the volcanic dust so harmful? When will the dust be settled? When can aircraft fly again? How will volcanic dust impact human health and the economy?

Why did the volcanic eruption have such a tremendous impact?

British Geological Survey Institute’s experts said Iceland is located on the Eurasian and North American tectonic plate boundary where magma flows from a gap continuously. While there is an upward local mantle heat flow, there is also deep magma underground.

In addition, the eruption of the volcano is located near Eyjafjallajokull glaciers. Many of the volcanoes are covered with ice. When the volcano became active on March 20 there was no smoke. The volcano began a large-scale eruption under the ice on April 14.

Additionally, since the volcano started a large-scale eruption on April 14, a northwest wind has been blowing over Europe, which made the ash spread quickly. The ash rode this wind northwest into Europe and then swept across the Europe. The effects were totally beyond expectation.

When this disaster disappeared?

American Museum of Natural History volcano expert Sally Sena said that it is hard to predict how long volcanic eruptions will last in Iceland. Like the eruption in 1982, the eruptions on April 14 also started from the bowl-shaped depression at the center of a volcano. However, it is too early to draw a conclusion whether the intensity and duration of the eruptions are similar to the previous eruption in 1982.

The deputy director of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology at the Russian Academy of Sciences said large volcanic eruptions can be different from each other. He said it ca not be determined at present how long it will last.

However, an Icelandic scientist warns that the nearby Katla volcano would erupt after the Eyjafjallajokull eruption. He said that the Katla volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:张茜)

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