Iceland – Earth is alive – Eyjafjallajökull and Laki Volcano

Post em Português.

Do you remember the breaking news or were you affected by the volcano eruption in 2010? It suspended the air traffic in 20 European countries and affected 10 million passengers. If you are not one of those 10 million, like me, you might be thinking that this eruption was intense. But it was not the first time that an eruption of the Icelandic Volcanos Europe:

Laki Volcano and how it changed Europe history

In 1783-84 the eruption of the Laki Volcano in Iceland resulted in a lot of changes on to the course of the history. It is considered to be one of the greatest natural disasters in the European history. The eruption was so intense that it lasted 8 months. The lava reached the temperature of 1000⁰C killing thousands of people. The burning lava is just the initial consequence of a volcano eruption. It is followed by toxic fumes, poisoned soil, acid rain and blocked rivers – the lava dries in contact with the water creating a barrier –  which in turn, cause flooding and pollute its waters.

The disaster didn’t affect Iceland only, due to an unusual climatic condition that year the winds were blowing from Iceland to Europe carrying the ashes and toxic fumes to the mainland of Europe. Some reports say that it got as far as Baghdad. It had an immense effect on the seasons. It caused an extremely hot summer and one of the most severe and longer winters in 250 years.  

Some at the time thought that it was the Judgement Day. If the recent eruption was already a problem with all technology we have today, imagine that in 1784! A journal from an Icelander Lutheran pastor, Jon Steingrimsoon, relates his impression of the volcano:

“Great slabs were cast up so indescribably high into the air backward and forward with great crashes players of fire and spouts of sand, smoke, and fumes. How fearsome I was to look upon the tokens and manifestation of God’s wrath”

After the famine in Iceland was so severe that the Icelanders start eating the leather book pages to survive.

In Europe, it was one of the factors for the floods and poverty. As you might know, the poverty and hunger were the main reason for the French revolution in 1789. If so, Iceland is responsible for the way we live today because with the French revolution came the ascension of Napoleon, collapsing of many monarchies, the political system of many other countries, such as the independence of Brazil and many other important historical events. And we think that globalization just happened with the internet!

Want to learn more about the Laki eruption? Check this BBC documentary: Part1, Part2, Part3, Part4, Part5

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