Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Next Volcanic Eruption?

As we wrote in a story in the current issue of Convene, the airplane-grounding volcanic eruption in Iceland that seemed to come out of nowhere last spring wasn't a surprise to everyone: Kevin Mellott, president of Erase Enterprises, warned his clients that volcanic activity would probably interrupt air travel in Europe during the first six months of 2010. Forewarned, they sent clients home from Europe on prearranged alternate routes.

Now Mellott is recommending paying attention to a sister Icelandic volcano -- Katla -- which is even bigger than Eyjafjallajökull and potentially could blow in the next year. There's lots of talk about the Katla on survivalist blogs, but also at conferences like mid-September's "Atlantic Conference on Eyjafjallajökull and Aviation" in Keflavik. In a summary, the conference chairman wrote that it was generally accepted by volcanologists that the probability of another volcanic eruption in Iceland or elsewhere in the coming years is "high" -- with Katla as the primary suspect.

Some sources were downplaying the likely effect of the volcano, but not Mellott. He also wasn't optimistic that many planners were paying attention to the potential of another eruption. "The intelligence is out there," he said. "It's just a question of whether anyone is looking for it."

NASA image of Eyjafjallajökull

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