Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The power of nature

The western part of Europe has recently been influenced by the plume from a volcano in Iceland. The volcano is called Eyjafjallajökull, which seems to me more difficult to pronounce than Tuomenoksa! The power of this volcano is even more difficult to comprehend than its pronunciation. At this moment there is still more plume coming and we do not have the knowledge to stop it or to calculate the duration.

The last two days the sky has been blue, and every time I looked up in the sky, I could not detect the plume. It is hard to imagine that it is up there while I cannot see it, but I surely felt it because the temperature has dropped significantly.

The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull has given us, the western Europeans who are not used to tornados or earthquakes, a great opportunity to observe our reactions.

My first reaction:
My first reaction was fascination. I found this whole situation mind blowing (I mean this in a positive sense). I saw the pictures of the volcano and pictures of the plume and I was completely fascinated.

At the same time I felt at deep respect for these enormous powers. Mother Earth calling us.

My second reaction:
My second reaction was to be grateful for the opportunity for us to learn from this.

In the Danish news I watched a scientist explain how fabulous an opportunity this was: this plume is acting in similar ways to the reaction after an atomic bomb. It went higher and moved slower, but the patterns in which the particles moved were similar. This meant that the scientist, who is responsible for calculating the effects of an atomic bomb, had the possibility to test his models on questions like: What is the possibility that the plume reaches our country? If the plume reaches our country, when will this happen? How long will it take to pass the country? He creates projections for all the information you need in order to make and maintain evacuation plans.

How often do we judge events as bad when they can be seen as great learning opportunities? How can I ever judge an event as good or bad when I do not know the specifics of whom or what may benefit from this event?

My third reaction.
This reaction was the one, which surprised me the most. I realized that I have no idea of the greater impact my wishes have.

Today some people asked me to meditate on keeping the plume less than three kilometers high so that we could soon fly from Europe again. Earlier this weekend I heard that if it would start to rain then the plume would not raise as high and this would give us better chances of flying.

But what happens if the plume is low? What happens if it starts raining?

During the first days the volcano directly impacted only the people close to the volcano in Iceland. They have been keeping the animals indoor because there is too much powder on the ground and this can be harmful for the animals. When it has been raining people and animals stay inside since it could be harmful for the lungs. Now, if it starts raining here in Denmark, while the plume is above my country, we are also advised to stay indoors.

They say that Eyjafjallajökull is not very harmful, but it is close to the biggest volcano on Iceland and it seems possible that it can "wake up" this neighbor called Katla.

I don't know if the rain will have any influence on the possibility of waking up Katla, but I when I got the request of wishing for the plume to get lower my reaction was: how can I know if this will be more harmful, if it might influence the awakening of Katla?

My fourth reaction
My fourth reaction was how surprisingly calm I felt not knowing what would happen in the future.

Historically this volcano becomes active every 200 yrs. The last time it was active it lasted one and a half years (on and of). How long time will it last now?

Last time it was active no one bothered about airplanes! But if it stays active for that long this time, how would it influence our lives? No flights to the USA? Would we sail to Iceland to take a flight from there (in Iceland only eastbound flights are influenced)?

Will we start living with a different attitude? Like: if I can't fly today, then maybe tomorrow or next week? Will we invent aircrafts who are less sensitive to the plume or who can fly under it?

A short term effect has been friendly people offering people they don't know a long distance ride in their car, since trains and busses didn't have capacity to take all the people who missed their flights.

And there have been some beautiful sunsets...

I would love to hear your reaction to Eyjafjallajökull's activities or to experiences with earthquakes, tornados or....

Love Joy

1 comment:

  1. Really neat, Joy; wonderful observations!


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