Two Letters Re: Icelandic Volcanic Ash

As a geologist (masters degree) I have written for 30 years on issues of geologic hazards for numerous publications and made presentations to governmental entities regarding same. I preach preparedness for disaster as a way of mitigation for the inevitable. This is my heads up for your readers.

The unpronounceable Icelandic volcano (Eyjafjallajokull) that is currently erupting and disrupting air traffic mostly over Europe is becoming quite a demonstration of natures ability to mess with our technology. A much bigger worry is a nearby volcano called Katla which is also located under a huge ice cap on iceland. Katla is one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the island and in the northern hemisphere. There seems to be a historic connection between the eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull and Katla which is potentially a very bad thing. These volcanoes are of a scale significant enough to literally cool the climate enough to effect agriculture on a world wide basis. One of the eruptions of Katla is being tied to the french revolution (famine) and if you don’t think that major social upheavals can be food related, then you need to be reading the P.E.T.A. web site not this one.

In other words, if this volcanic system starts to really clear it’s throat and start singing, we won’t be worrying about global warming for a while. But we will be worried about the food lines and rationing cards put out by the government to control the flow of rare commodities such as edibles. A serious volcanic event is just about all it would take to through many world economies that are teetering on the brink regardless, right over the edge. Massive quantities of SO2 thrown into the stratosphere will cool the planet rapidly and likely could give us several years of terrible harvests. Get your pantry in order if it’s not already.

For some historical background, see: How an Icelandic volcano helped spark the French Revolution.

Best, – F.B., 14 miles from the nearest asphalt road.

Mr. Rawles,

Just wanted to pass along a link to an MSN story about the volcano erupting in Iceland. My eyebrow went up when I saw the words “Interwoven World” in the headline. Of course they don’t go very deep into the possible disruptions this kind of event can bring about.

Also, I was curious if you are familiar with the BBC science documentary series “Connections” that was first aired in the 1970s. It had many interesting segments, but the first episode was my favorite. The host of the show used an example of a blackout that hit New York City in 1965. He discussed how people dealt with the disruption with the expectation that things were going to be fixed and then life would go back to normal. The power did come back after five hours, but the host did then put a question to the viewer of what would they do if the power did not come back. What would they do? Where would they go?

I’ve always been a “What If” thinker, and when I saw this in a class many years ago, it added a whole new level of thought that sticks with me to this day.

My wife and I appreciate your efforts and hope for your continued success. We just received our copy of the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course and are starting to get ourselves organized as best we can.

Thank you, – Sean J. in Washington State