Saturday, April 17, 2010

Iceland's Katla Caldera Sub-glacial Volcano

Geophysicists are warning that Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull eruptions could potentially lead to a larger eruption of the Katla subglacial volcano. Eruptions at Eyjafjallajökull in 920, 1612 and in 1821, were followed by much larger eruptions at Katla.

In terms of volcanic explosions, the current activity at Eyjafjallajökull is considered by Vulcanologist as being relatively small. Nearby Katla is considered to be the most dangerous volcano on Iceland. From our perspective, as 'volcanically illiterate' observers, the only question is: When will it stop?

Probably, to a Vulcanologist, that is a very stupid question .. once a volcano is active and sending ash high into the atmosphere, eruptions can continue on and off for weeks, months or years. The last time Eyjafjallajökul erupted - in 1821 - activity continued until 1823. The Katla volcano is known to erupt every 40 to 50 years, and the last known eruption of Katla occurred in 1918.

Iceland's Katla is a volcanic caldera under a glacier .. at this point no one really knows will there be an eruption of Katla or not .. but assume there will be an associated eruption - the next question is: How bad can it get? Forget about European airspace, if the caldera erupts it will be a question, for the people of Iceland, of wind direction.

If the wind is stationary at the time of a Katla eruption the ash would fall on Iceland, and that could be a disaster for them. Obviously, they do not want a severe amount of ash to blow across Reykjavik and have a serious eruption cover farmland in ash, killing farm animals en mass - if the eruption was serious enough.

The fact that April 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption has blown across Europe and is being sucked East into the Jet Stream, means that the cloud of ash did not blow West across Iceland [out into the Atlantic]. Sat24 gives a birds-eye view of the volcanic ash flow across Europe.

Sitting under a ton of ice, if the Katla caldera explodes it will throw a massive amount of ice, water and steam out, and the water ash mix carries into the atmosphere (which is water friendly). The reason Earth does not look like Mars, is because the Earth's atmosphere is 'water friendly'. You have this dynamic living reaction taking place, one that seeded life on this planet .. and we are watching that process in tiny miniature each time a volcano erupts.

What do we do? The first reaction is, if only we could stop it. That is the wrong reaction. To stop this process now would be to create an even more destructive explosion later. You can delay it, but you cannot prevent it .. and so the first relationship with these environmental changes is to realise that the Earth knows what she is doing - just as simply as your heart knows how to beat.

The rational (scientific) mind questions that the Earth is a living conscious being, and they would say - how does the Earth know? The answer is, the Earth knows in the same way your body knows how to survive. It is a biological process on one level and a ecological psychic living biology on other levels. For example, what tells your blood to clot when you cut yourself? From the day you are born until the day you die, your heart beats. It is the same with the planet.

We humans, the animals, plants, insects, birds and fish come from the Earth - so how could our biological processes be different than the Earth's? It isn't different .. we are a biological miniature of the Planet we are born from and inhabit. The Earth just has bigger and longer cycles, heartbeats, blood flow, breathing of the atmosphere, pulse of the Ocean - over thousands of years, rather than minutes.

I think that this timeline - our space in the continuum - is not as bad as it could be. The Iceland eruptions could have been a lot worse .. they could have been devastating. I have seen probable futures a lot worse than the one we are living now. Therefore, people have nothing to complain about, even if they are stuck somewhere and unable to travel. We are fortunate these eruptions were as mild as they have been. We still have a chance. We are still navigating the currents of the past, into the present and part of the future.

It is wrong thinking to think that the current eruptions should come to an end now .. because, it is possible the Eyjafjallajökull eruptions, letting off pressure, letting off steam, are reducing the explosiveness of a potential Katla eruption.

As inconvenient as this may seem, and as frustrating as it may seem, it could be a lot worse. Eyjafjallajökull is gently, for a volcano, letting off steam. Just be aware that the Earth has the same body you do, only it is a lot bigger and supports all diversity of life. So, Katla may explode in the future - it will explode, no one knows when - but from the signs we are receiving .. we are lucky .. things are not as bad as they could be '-)