In the spring of 2010, all of Europe was shut down as Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano errupted, spewing forth its contents all over. The giant hole in the Earth, most likely upset at its ridiculous name, caused the greatest delay in modern air travel. Flights were grounded for a solid week, and perhaps most unfortunate of all, Please Hug Me – I’ve Been Delayed was not yet available in European airports to keep stranded passengers entertained.
“Why can’t we fly?” so many asked. “Can’t planes go through clouds?” Well, unlike vapor clouds, the ash inside of a cloud caused by a volcano acts like millions of pieces of shredded glass, and is powerful enough to scrape the paint off a plane. It certainly doesn’t mix with combustion engines that like nice clean air to function. (I’m surprised at the number of people who were unaware of this. But then again, there are people out there who think nothing of going 20,000 miles between oil changes, and are shocked when dealers don’t honor their warranty.)
Perhaps the power of a volcono is best demonstrated by this video:
Should I be worried?
Not particularly. Airlines take volcanic ash very seriously, and will reroute or divert a flight anywhere near an ash cloud. We’ve also got the Volcano Science Center at the US Geological Survey and fifth-graders round the world glued to Google Earth keeping a good watch out for any major eruptions. And Twitter.
So, what can we learn from this?
Not much, other than we must always respect Mother Nature. If a volcano messes up your travel plans, take a tip from Marcia… just laugh. And be thankful you didn’t live in Pompeii in 79AD. Because no one surivived that erruption.
PS Any retailers doing business near an active volcano and interested in stocking up on copies of Please Hug Me – I’ve Been Delayed are welcome to contact me directly for special discount pricing.