“Katla”, a likely unheard of volcano for most of you, just showed signs of a potential major awakening at the southern tip of Iceland.
Why is this relevant? Because if this VEI-6 volcano should blow its top, there may be major ramifications for Europe and perhaps the rest of us.
Could this become a ‘black swan’ event that tips over the house of cards?
Here’s what I mean:
When I read the news report this morning of two unusually large earthquakes at the Katla volcano, I recalled a time several years ago when I had been following (and writing about) the hazard, shortly after the major eruption of its neighbor volcano, “Eyjafjallajokull” which shut down much of Europe’s airspace for a week back in 2010. Katla is potentially much bigger…
Katla is a large volcano in southern Iceland. Twenty eruptions have been documented between the years 930 and 1918 at intervals of 13–95 years. It is certainly time for its next cataclysm. It has not erupted violently for 98 years, and in addition, it has never before erupted during ‘modern times’ when its effects may be so disrupting.
To put in perspective the size of the potential eruption, a VEI-6 (volcano eruptive index) and its magma chamber is capable of releasing up to 100 Billion cubic meters of ejecta. Famous VEI-6 volcanoes include Krakatoa (Indonesia) and Mount Pinatubo (Philippines).
A significant danger from volcanoes is the volcanic ash. When ejected high into the atmosphere it has the potential to cause severe damage, and even world wide long term disruption.
Why is volcanic ash so dangerous? Volcanic Ash is made of tiny jagged hard particles and pieces of volcanic glass, rock, and minerals, and is very abrasive and corrosive. Volcanic ash will destroy jet engines. It will clog and grind up combustion engines. It can also destroy your lungs…
Volcanic ash may cause the following:
Volcanic ash will sandblast the pilot’s window, fuselage, and clog sensors within seconds.
Volcanic ash will melt onto the turbines and parts of the combustion chamber of a jet engine causing stall or complete failure.
Regional airline hub closures if ash is identifiable as dense enough to present a threat to air travel safety.
Lengthy airport closures affect regional and global economy.
Volcanic ash and Fluorine poisoning can lead to livestock death from eating grasses that are coated with fluorine.
Complete crop failure likely in nearby zones that cover with ash.
Partial crop failure in regions, depending on severity of ash cover or quantity of ash entering into the stratosphere which could reduce temperatures world wide for a period of months or even years depending on severity of a major eruption.
Human respiratory problems upon inhaling abrasive ash particles below 10 microns, which is the smallest size that the nose and upper respiratory system can filter out before entering deep into the lungs.
Volcanic ash mixed with moisture in the lungs will turn to liquid cement, and if bad enough, will suffocate.
Inhalation of free silica could potentially lead to Silicosis— a fibrous (scarring) reaction of the lungs.
Eye damage if wearing contact lenses from ash abrasion on the surface of the eye if within ash zone (wear glasses instead!).
Water supply pollution and crop damage from acid rain (rain washes out the acid from the volcanic ash particles in the atmosphere).
The local economy would likely be devastated.
The regional economy will be negatively affected quickly, if ash plume impacts the area.
The global economy will be negatively affected if the regional impact is located within a strategic zone, example being the global impact from a major volcano (Katla) affecting European geographies.
The global economy may also be adversely affected if volcanic ash is exploded up high enough into the stratosphere to cause world wide impact.
Okay, back to the title, “Is A Large Volcano About To Erupt And Trigger A Global Unwinding?”. It would seem to me that a major event such as this could be a trigger event that begins toppling the dominoes. There would be immediate negative stock market reactions – given the potential impact and results of a major Katla / European eruption. Many of us know how intertwined everything is, and the systemic risks that go along with it… Could something like this topple the ‘house of cards’? I say, maybe…we shall see…