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The volcano, which has a crater 3–4 kilometres (1.9–2.5 mi) in diameter, erupted in 920, 1612 and again from 1821 to 1823 when it caused a glacial lake outburst flood.
It erupted twice in 2010—on 20 March and 14 April. The March event forced a brief evacuation of around 500 local people,but the April eruption was ten to twenty times more powerful and caused massive disruption to air traffic across Northern Europe.
Before we go further let us first understand :
What is a Volcano ?
A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock below the surface of the earth. Unlike most mountains, which are pushed up from below, volcanoes are built up by an accumulation of their own eruptive products. When pressure from gases within the molten rock becomes too great, an eruption occurs. Eruptions can be quiet or explosive. There may be lava flows, flattened landscapes, poisonous gases, and flying rock and ash.
Is it Destructive: Because of their intense heat, lava flows are great fire hazards. Lava flows destroy everything in their path, but most move slowly enough that people can move out of the way.
Does it effect our health : Fresh volcanic ash, made of pulverized rock, can be abrasive, acidic, gritty, gassy, and odorous. While not immediately dangerous to most adults, the acidic gas and ash can cause lung damage to small infants, to older adults, and to those suffering from severe respiratory illnesses.
Volcanic ash also can damage machinery, including engines and electrical equipment. Ash accumulations mixed with water become heavy and can collapse roofs. Volcanic ash can affect people hundreds of miles away from the cone of a volcano.
Sideways directed volcanic explosions, known as "lateral blasts," can shoot large pieces of rock at very high speeds for several miles. These explosions can kill by impact, burial, or heat. They have been known to knock down entire forests.
Various effects of Volcano Eruption : Volcanic eruptions can be accompanied by other natural hazards, including earthquakes, mudflows and flash floods, rock falls and landslides, acid rain, fire, and (under special conditions) tsunamis.
Was there any warning before this Volcano erupted ?
Around December 2009, seismic activity was detected in the volcano area, with thousands of small earthquakes (mostly magnitude 1–2 on the Richter magnitude scale, with only a couple greater than 3 magnitude) 7–10 kilometres (4.3–6.2 mi) beneath the volcano.
On 26 February 2010, unusual seismic activity along with rapid expansion of the Earth's crust was registered by the Meteorological Institute of Iceland.This gave geophysicists evidence that magma was pouring from underneath the crust into the magma chamber of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and that pressure stemming from the process caused the huge crustal displacement at Þorvaldseyri farm.
3,000 Earthquakes : The seismic activity continued to increase and from 3–5 March, close to 3,000 earthquakes were measured at the epicentre of the volcano.
Eruption on 20th March, 2010 : The eruption is thought to have begun on 20 March 2010, about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) east of the top crater of the volcano in a popular hiking region called Fimmvörðuháls. This first eruption, in the form of a fissure vent, did not occur under the glacier and was smaller in scale than had been thought by some geologists.
On 14 April 2010 : Eyjafjallajökull resumed erupting after a brief pause, this time from the top crater in the centre of the glacier, causing meltwater floods (also known as jökulhlaup) to rush down the nearby rivers, and requiring 800 people to be evacuated. This eruption was explosive in nature and is estimated to be ten to twenty times larger than the previous one in Fimmvörðuháls.
This second eruption threw volcanic ash several kilometres up in the atmosphere which led to air travel disruptions in northwest Europe starting on 15 April 2010, including the closure of airspace over most of
THE BIG QUESTION ? WHAT TO DO ?
What to do Before a Volcanic Eruption
- Add a pair of goggles and disposable breathing mask for each member of the family to your disaster supply kit.
- Stay away from active volcano sites.
- If you live near a known volcano, active or dormant, be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice.
What to Do During a Volcanic Eruption
If a Volcano Erupts Where You Live
- Follow the evacuation order issued by authorities and evacuate immediately from the volcano area to avoid flying debris, hot gases, lateral blast, and lava flow.
- Be aware of mudflows. The danger from a mudflow increases near stream channels and with prolonged heavy rains. Mudflows can move faster than you can walk or run. Look upstream before crossing a bridge, and do not cross the bridge if a mudflow is approaching.
- Avoid river valleys and low-lying areas.
- Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance - infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities.
Protection from Falling Ash
- Listen to a battery-powered radio or television for the latest emergency information.
- If you have a respiratory ailment, avoid contact with any amount of ash.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use goggles and wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses.
- Use a dust mask or hold a damp cloth over your face to help with breathing.
- Stay away from areas downwind from the volcano to avoid volcanic ash.
- Stay indoors until the ash has settled unless there is a danger of the roof collapsing.
- Close doors, windows, and all ventilation in the house (chimney vents, furnaces, air conditioners, fans, and other vents.
- Clear heavy ash from flat or low-pitched roofs and rain gutters.
- Avoid running car or truck engines. Driving can stir up volcanic ash that can clog engines, damage moving parts, and stall vehicles.
- Avoid driving in heavy ash fall unless absolutely required. If you have to drive, keep speed down to 35 MPH or slower.