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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Go with flow - it's what volcanoes do

I have certainly chosen an interesting time to travel to Iceland, with the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull a few days ago. This was the second eruption in the area within the last month, the first being somewhat less volatile, the effects of which have been confined to Icelandic shores. The second eruption though was different, as the volcano erupted from deep within an ice cap resulting in a huge plume of ash containing minute particules of silica (volcanic glass) which then drifted on north westerly winds towards Britain and the rest of Europe. This has resulted in the closure of airports in 23 European countries, with thousands stranded at both ends. No one knows how long the disruption is likely to last, with the deadline extended half a dozen times already. According to some reports it could last well into next week or even beyond. It is something that is completely beyond our control, as nature always is.

Although I feel desperately sorry for those who are stranded, my own concerns are more long term. I am due to travel to Iceland myself in 11 weeks (4th July), and am unsure whether this will even be possible. I am telling myself to trust that it will be all alright, that the worst is over, as the cloud drifts off towards the continent, but it is not that simple. British air space may be re-opened making it theoretically possible to travel to Iceland, but what will I find when I get there? Will the roads be open enabling me to travel around the country. I have to travel through the affected zone in order to get to Skaftafell National Park, which I had hoped to visit. How will it affect the weather in that part of the country, what will happen if the seismic activity continues or starts up again while I am there? What if it spreards to other nearby volcanos and triggers them? So many questions with no answers.

It has left me somewhat in limbo, uncertain as to whether I should go ahead and book domestic flights and make other internal arrangements prior to my arrival in the country. The advice from the Embassy website is simply to keep up to date with the news, which really doesn't tell me much, as it difficult to get news from within Iceland itself to ascertain how things are there. Villages near the affected zone were said to have experienced prolonged darkness with a thick layer of ash, and there is also some damage to roads. The Icelanders I will imagine, will be keen to get these repaired as quickly as possible to get help to the affected areas in clearing away the debris, and also so that the local people, who were evacuated can return home.

For the moment at least it is really a waiting game - along with everyone else all i can do is wait and see. If the volcano has a message for us at all, it must surely be to go with the flow, for that is exactly what volcanic lava does !

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