Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Volcanoes and Ash Oh My!

Our world continues to shrink. We communicate instantaneously. Trade knows no border. I know global soccer scores as they happen. In this hyperworld, not much surprises us. We feel as if we've mastered nature. Yet, occasionally something happens that makes us feel small again, makes the world seem incomprehensively large, and leaves us in awe. One of those moments happened last week when an Icelandic volcano erupted. The subsequent cloud of ash spread throughout Europe, grounding planes and stranding thousands of travelers. European airspace opened this morning after almost a week of closure. Estimated airline losses have reached almost $1.7 billion.

The situation has left me with a childlike misunderstanding: a volcano more than 1500 miles from mainland Europe almost shut down the continent. That is something awesome to consider.

In my younger days I made a ketchup volcano for an elementary school science fair. Perhaps that laid the ground work of intrigue. Either way, this very real volcano has me curious. I look forward to perusing the following books.

Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction: a Journey to the Birthplace of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis

Volcanoes: Eruptions and other Volcanic Hazards

Worlds on Fire: Volcanoes on the Earth, Moon, Mars, Venus and Io

Krakatoa: the Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883


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