Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lakagigar Volcano Chain, Iceland

Postcard Book
The Earth From the Air
Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Lakagigar Volcano Chain, Iceland

Lakagigar, in southern Iceland, still bears the scars of one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in recorded history. In 1783 two eruptive fissures, a total of 15 miles (25km) long, opened up on both sides of Lake volcano, vomiting 4 cubic miles (15km3) of molten rock that engulfed 225 square miles (580 km2) of land, the largest lava flow in human memory. A cloud of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ash spread over the entire island and contaminated grazing land and surface waters. Three quarters of the livestock was annihilated, and after a second eruption in 1785, a terrible famine decimated a quarter of the population (more than 10,000 people). The fissures of Lakegigar, crowned by 115 volcanic craters, are today closed up, and the streams of lava are covered by a thick carpet of moss. Iceland has more than 200 active volcanoes and has produced one-third of all discharges of lava occurring around the world in the course of the last 500 years.


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