Saturday, April 17, 2010

Clear View of The Vent

The NYT has posted some AP stock footage of the first clear view of Eyjafjallajökull's vent, at least that I've seen. I have several times been asked today, "How big an eruption is it?" My stock answer has become that in terms of volume and violence, it's smaller than Mount St. Helens, and as volcanoes go, that wasn't a terribly large one. On the other hand, in terms of impact, in terms of monetary cost, this one is likely bigger. Even more so if, as it appears, it continues for days, weeks or months.
One of the things that really stuck out for me in the clip above is the trough in the glacier, probably the result of collapse as relatively warm water draining away from the vent melts a large sub-glacial channel.

There's another impressive video at the link above showing a view from what appears to be NW of the volcano, showing the plume of ash and steam rising above the cloud bank sitting over the ice field. I'm not sure if the jerkiness when I watched it was an artifact of YouTube (which is often jerky for me) or intentional. If intentional, it did a good job of emphasizing the billowing and pulsating nature of the plume.

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