Eyjafjallajoekull Volcano Case Study

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  • Created by: Fiona
  • Created on: 13-05-13 17:44


200 km from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland

It is found below the Gigjoekull Glacier

On a constructive plate boundary involving the North American and Eurasian plates

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It started when a fissure opened up that was 150km long

The lava was basaltic and viscous - it was slow moving and flowed 400m northeast

14th April 2010 the eruption became more explosive and ejected fine, glass-like particles

the explosiveness was due to the meltwater flowing back into the crater 

the depression over Western Europe caused the ash cloud to remain present

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Social Impacts

0 deaths (!)

700 evacuated

400,000 people were stranded abroad due to the ash cloud

livestock were affected because it is an agriculutral area, with 15% of Iceland's cattle and 6% of its sheep

Water sources were contamined by the fluoride in the ash, meaning farmers could not let their animals drink from it as it would potentially be fatal

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Economic Impacts

£130 million was lost by airlines each day

Europe lost $2.6 billion in GDP

95,000 flights were grounded - this meant exports were stopped

the Kenyan economy lost $3.8 million each day from flight cancellations

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Environmental Imapcts

there was increased ice ment and this led to flooding, for example the Krossor glacier river flooded

the plume of ash went 10km up into the jet stream and travelled over Western Europe and Scandinavia due to the direction of the wind

2.8 million tons less of CO2 were emitted over the period (less flights)

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International aid was not necessary because Iceland is a MEDC

700 people were evacuated to avoid flooding/ damage/ death - only farmers were allowed to return to care for their animals initially


Domestic and international airports shut

Flights were grounded due to the ash cloud across Europe

Air craft were tested to see if they can fly through ash clouds or which types of ash cloud they can fly through

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Response Problems

Iceland is an MEDC so repsonses were quick and planes were grounded to avoid any crashes

There was constant monitoring of the ash cloud's movements and European countries were regularly updated of the situation

Therefore it would seem there were no major response problems

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