Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Volcano of the Week #8 - Lakagígar

Lakagigar or Laki is Iceland's premier volcano, it's close to the the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur and lots of other Icelandic places that I've never heard of. The mountain is called Laki, however as it is actually the fissure vents that have the volcanic activity so the volcano's name is Lakagígar (craters of Laki). Lakagígar's largest known eruption was on 8th June 1783, the entire eruption lasted until 7th February 1784. Though in this time the eruption downgraded from a massive Strombolian with a VEI of 6 to a gentle Hawaiian. The consequences of this eruption were huge and pretty much caused the French Revolution. The resulting problems termed The Mist Hardships killed off a quarter of Iceland's human population and half of the cattle and horses. 

It was not just Iceland that was affected by this natural disaster mainly due to the size of the eruption; Europe's entire industrial output of sulphur dioxide in 2006 was only a third of that from Lakagigar. The following year weather was extreme in Europe with hot, hazy summers and harsh winters (the New-England winter in 1784 was also notably cold). In Britain around 30,000 died from sulphur poisoning and around 8,000 from the cold which contained 28 days of unbroken frost. The frost had bad effects on harvests throughout Europe; leading to famine and, in France, political unrest which climaxed as the Revolution in 1789. France was not the country to suffer from Lakagigar-induced famine as Egypt lost around a sixth of its population to famine in 1784. 

Like the last Volcano of the Week I'll end with another great religious quote this time from Jón Steingrímsson's fire sermon given as the people of Kirkjubaejarklaustur were in church surrounded by lava flow
"This past week, and the two prior to it, more poison fell from the sky than words can describe: ash, volcanic hairs, rain full of sulfur and saltpeter, all of it mixed with sand. The snouts, nostrils, and feet of livestock grazing or walking on the grass turned bright yellow and raw. All water went tepid and light blue in color and gravel slides turned gray. All the earth's plants burned, withered and turned gray, one after another, as the fire increased and neared the settlements."

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