Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? My posts this month are going to focus on various natural disasters and how to be ready to weather the storms. Up first – volcanoes!
There are over 160 volcanos within the United States alone with most centered around the western coast in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Wyoming, Hawaii and the western islands – find the full list here. You can find a list of all the active volcanoes around the world here.
Last week the world learned how to pronounce Bárðarbunga as word spread that another Icelandic volcano was ready to blow. We all remember when Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010 spreading ash miles into the air and causing airlines to shut down flights in Europe for 6 days out of fear that the ash would ruin the jet engines.
Bárðarbunga is part of a system of volcanos in the center of Iceland which lay beneath a massive glacier. Seismologists detected over 3,000 earthquakes in the region, a forewarning of a future eruption. Indeed on Monday the 8/28 Bárðarbunga erupted, and had a second eruption a few days later on 8/31. While these eruptions were nothing that those experienced in 2010, Iceland still banned flights within 6,000 feet of the peak on the 31st for a few hours until it was determined that no ash had been released and air travel remained safe. You can read more about the Bárðarbunga volcano via Vox’s excellent coverage here and here. And even catch a livecam of the volcano.
Iceland wasn’t the only hot zone this last week, however. Mount Tavurvur’s Rabaul volcano in Papua New Guinea also erupted on August 29, 2014, spreading a plume of smoke and ash 18km into the air. 4,000 people in the town of Rabaul were evacuated in anticipation of the storm, and the rest were warned to stay indoors. This eruption is causing changes in flight patterns, with Qantas airlines rerouting planes to avoid the smoke and ash. Others are concerned for the fate of agriculture nearby as ash blankets the land, similar to a previous Rabaul eruption in 1994 devastated the area.