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No doubt you’ve heard about the erupting volcano in Iceland by now. If you haven’t, there’s this volcano in Iceland and it’s erupting and causing all kinds of problems. Well here’s the ironic thing…
So I like to watch tv while I fold whites and our cloth diapers, but I also don’t like most of what’s on tv (especially daytime), so I generally flip to some interesting science or nature channel, or the occasional crime show, but I try to justify my tv watching with science shows first. Hey, they’re interesting. So a couple of days ago I was watching this show about volcanoes, and it was like the Top Ten Dangers of Volcanoes, or in other words, the Top Ten Ways A Volcano Can Totally Kill You And None Of Them Are A Pleasant Death. Clearly their title was shorter.
After watching this show, I felt pretty well-versed in your general volcano danger–you know, lava, magma, giant pieces of crap in the air–that kind of thing. And of course ash was covered, since volcano = ash and I remember when Mount Saint Helens erupted (oh! That’s another “Are you a Gen X Mom” question! Were you alive when Mount Saint Helens blew her lid?). I even remember ash in the air and I had a little vial of offical Mount Saint Helens ash which, if I still had it, would no doubt be worth thousands by now.
Incidentally, I went and looked up Mount Saint Helens whilst writing this and here’s a piece of trivia: at the time of eruption, the summit of the volcano was owned by Burlington Northern Railroad. Talk about a bad investment!!
Anyway, I learned five things from this program that made me fully appreciate the magnitude (heh, magnitude) of this Icelandic eruption:
- Volcanoes can be underneath glaciers and even those erupt. Who knew? The Icelanders, no doubt.
- Ash is actually tiny bits of glass (silica)
- Ash wrecks all kinds of havoc
- Especially to airplanes
- Volcanoes can continue to erupt for months and months
So when Train Guy said, “Wow, over 16,000 flights in Europe have been cancelled!” I got to say, “I know why! It’s because volcanic ash is actually made of glass, and it gets sucked into jet engines which then are so hot they melt the glass and it gums up the whole works of the rest of the plane!” and when he said, “They have no idea when plane travel can resume,” I got to say, “Volcanoes can erupt for months!”
See? Television isn’t always a waste of time.
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