Explain why Eyjafjallajokull is being described as an economic mega disaster.

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Dan Grist
Explain why Eyjafjallajokull is being described as an economic
mega disaster.
In April 2010, Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, sending a huge plume of ash 27,000
feet up into the jet stream ­ not a direct threat to humans but an enormous risk to global
flows and networks.
Iceland is situated on a constructive plate boundary. The
North American plate is diverging away from the Eurasian
plate, resulting in lava flowing out of the mantle and it
solidifying ­ creating new oceanic crust called the mid
Atlantic ridge. The majority of this is under water however
Iceland is an exception (the build up of solidifying lava has
made reach above sea level) ­ therefore it has a lot of
volcanic activity. However most of the eruptions that occur
on a constructive plate boundaries are effusive ­ they are
low on volcanic explosivity index (VEI), therefore they are of
a low threat to humans.
Eyjafjallajokull was only 2 on the VEI however it has to be considered a major geophysical
hazard due to its enormous ash and gas cloud which had been erupted to around the same
heights that planes fly (27,00 feet.) The dust travelled thousands of miles away from its
source ­ moving eastwards over the UK and midland Europe. This hazard is now to be
considered partly hydro-meteorological
due to its travel by atmospheric
processes. Countries in Europe had to
enforce a `no-fly zone as the ash could
cause damage to flights, potentially
bringing them down. 17,000 flights were
cancelled in only the first day after the
eruption; the ban lasted for a further 5
days. In the past the eruption wouldn't
have any impacts at all; however we now
have strong dependence on complex, worldwide supply chains that are reliant on air
transport. 260 European airports were paralysed according to the Airports council
international Europe. Therefore the economic impacts that this eruption created were
The total costs to businesses and tourism added up to more
than £2 billion! Tourism was certainly the industry that suffered
the most; the UK lost £10 million a day in tourism. 150,000
tourists were stranded overseas, the UK government sent out
navy boats across the English Channel in order to help aid the
effort and pick up tourists (see right). Many holidays were

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Dan Grist
cancelled immediately after the eruption. Many airline operators suffered huge losses, for
example British airways lost £15-20 million per day. There was combined lost revenue of
$200 million a day for the airline companies according to the international air transport
The temporary movement of profession workers
was also brought to a halt, however this was not a
negative impact for everyone ­ the global flow of
internet information was received a boost.
Video-conferencing firms e.g. Cisco systems
experienced a surge in demand.…read more


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