Case Study: Eyjafjallajökull Iceland, 2010

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  • Eyjafjallajökull Iceland,  2010
    • About
      • Caldera 2.5km wide, volcano 1666m tall
      • North American plate and Eurasian plate, divergent boundary
    • Prediction
      • March 3-5th 2010, 3000 recorded earthquakes (mainly under 2 on Richter)
      • Concern over Eyjafjöll triggering the nearby Katla which is more violent
      • Weather predictions that ash could spread badly
    • The Eruption
      • Began 20th March but main started 19th April
      • Fissure eruption, lava flow dominant on west
      • Ash plume 11,000m (36,000ft) into the air
      • Fine grained ash distributed by high speed jet stream
    • Local Effects
      • 150m thick ice cap melted causing flooding (700 people evacuated
      • Main roads destroyed, some roads bulldosed to allow flash flood to reach the sea
      • Fine ash silted rivers so blockages occured
        • Government paid for dredging/ flooding to make new paths
      • 20 farms destroyed
    • Worldwide Effects
      • Fine ash = turns into a glassy substance when in plane engines
        • Engine heat causes this
      • UK had anticyclonic weather so ash was dispersed better
      • 95,000 flights cancelled, 6 flightless days
        • $200mil a day cost for airlines, approx $2bil loss
      • Approx £102 mil lost from tourist income in London
    • Control
      • Iceland had everyone ready as eruption begun before main one
      • High tech equipment
      • 30min warning texts for locals
      • Emergency services well prepared


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