Laki Volcano Iceland

Laki Volcano

By Florence, Clare, Jess and Sonia

What was supposed to be summer in the northern hemisphere soon turned to a devastating and harsh winter as the Laki Volcano in Iceland erupted over an 8 month period starting from the 8th of June. 1783 . The results of the eruption were catastrophic- 25% of Iceland’s population were killed, 50% of livestock wiped out in Iceland, and the drop in temperatures , due to the sulphuric dioxide gases spewed into the northern hemisphere, caused crop failures in Europe, droughts in India and Japan’s worst ever famine. The amount of snow in New Jersey reached a new record, the Mississippi froze at New Orleans, and there was ice in the Gulf of Mexico. 6 million people died all together due to famine, freezing temperatures and of the poison released (fluorine and sulphur dioxide) 😦 The Laki eruption produced the largest lava flow in the history of the Earth- 2.9 cubic miles of lava which covered 218 square miles.

It was reported that the sun either remained as a pale ghost in the sky all around Europe during the eruption or took on a strange, blood red colour in the volcanic haze.

Location of disaster:

The location of the Laki volcano is in south Iceland. Iceland is located on two different plate boundaries, the Eurasian plate and North American plate. These two plates are splitting apart and forms the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Its coordinates are 64°o3’53” N 18°13’34”W. Lakagigar is the correct name as the Laki mountain didn’t actually erupt, rather fissures opened up on either side of it. Lakagigar is part of a volcanic system in the south of Iceland that centres around the Grimsvotn volcano. It is situated between the Myrdalsjokull and Vatanajokull glaciers and in an area of fissures which run in a north-east direction to south west direction. Laki Volcano is situated not far from the canyon of Eldgja and the small village Kirkjubaejarklaustur, in South-East Iceland.

What is happening at the boundary?

The boundary of the Eurasian and North American plate is called a splitting boundary, that is, they are moving apart. this is called the Mid-Atlantic ridge. along this ridge lies one of the longest mountain ranges in the world. Where it has split, magma is flowing out and then cooling to become new crust.

NOTE: there were no video cameras in 1783 obviously- so this is just a stimulation of the event:

 

11 responses to this post.

  1. What year did this happen?

    -Mr. Pattison-

    Reply

  2. Map: The maps are very clear and the world map especially is very well labled. The maps are also very well explained using text.

    Description of the Disaster: The results that came from the disaster are well explained and detailed. It is easy to understand what the disaster caused.
    Suggestions: The only suggestion would be that there is a lot about the after math, however maybe more about the actual eruption would make things clearer.

    Explanation of plate boundry near disaster: Your explanation is easy to understand and has been explained very well. The visual aids that you used were a great help and matched what you were explaining.

    Overall Impression: The layout of your website is colourful and attractive, your information is broken up and therefore isnt overwhelming.
    Suggestions: Although the information has already been broken up very well, if you seperate your explanaion and result of the disaster, the website would be even easier to understand! However seperating it isnt completely necessary.

    Mark: 9/10
    What happened to the volcano after the eruption?
    What state is the volcano now in? Is it dead, active, or sleeping?

    Great work, from Chile Earthquake 1960.

    Reply

    • Answer to both questions: Laki Volcano is a dormant volcano (sleeping) which means that it is currently inactive but there is a chance that it will erupt again sometime. Laki after the eruption became a tourism destination,( and still is) It is a 25-kilometer long volcanic fissure with some 100-crater cones. Most of the craters stand 20 – 50 meters tall, the highest rising up to 100 meters over the surroundings. The area is great for tourists and can only be accesed by 4×4 vechicles:)

      Reply

  3. MAP: the map is very easy to understand (however some of the countries are slightly blurred), although your location of the volcano is almost off the map!

    DESCRIPTION OF THE DISASTER: The aftermath of the disaster is very detailed however the actual events before and during the eruption are not clearly explained.

    EXPLANATION OF THE PLATE BOUNDARY: The explanation does cover the main facts however it is very brief.

    OVERALL IMPRESSION: It was a wonderful idea to include a stimulation of the event, the pictures help explain the eruption further and there is a large amount of information. The percentages used in your information also help put the scale of the eruption into perspective. The only suggestion for your page is to check your spelling and punctuation!

    Rating: 8/10

    Questions:
    Was there any inclination before the eruption that the volcano was going to erupt?
    Had the volcano erupted in earlier years, or was this its first eruption?

    From Steph, Annalisse and Caitlin (aka the Nevada del Ruiz group)

    Reply

  4. Map: Very detailed and shows specific and relevant information. Great labelling.

    Description of the disaster: Good information with relevant statistics, however you could talk and explain more about the effects and aftereffects of the volcano
    Explanation of the plate boundary: Sound information. Could have got more information.

    Overall impression: Excellent and reliable information about the disaster. It would be better if you fit in pictures in between your information and made it flow more easily.

    Mark: 8/10
    Questions:
    1. Did the disaster cause any damage outside Iceland? What were they?

    Reply

    • From the Sichuan Earthquake group

      Reply

    • If you look at the first paragraph it says:

      “The results of the eruption were catastrophic- 25% of Iceland’s population were killed, 50% of livestock wiped out in Iceland, and the drop in temperatures , due to the sulphuric dioxide gases spewed into the northern hemisphere, caused crop failures in Europe, droughts in India and Japan’s worst ever famine. The amount of snow in New Jersey reached a new record, the Mississippi froze at New Orleans, and there was ice in the Gulf of Mexico. 6 million people died all together due to famine, freezing temperatures and of the poison released (fluorine and sulphur dioxide). ”

      Hope this answers your question.

      Sonia, Clare, Florence and Jess =]

      Reply

  5. In reply to the Nevada del Ruiz group, you have asked a very good question and unfortunately we could source no information on whether or not there have been occurrence of eruptions prior to the 1783 one. We can only take an educated guess and come to the conclusion that there may have been small eruptions before hand but as there is lots of information on the 1783 eruption and it was such a massive eruption we can say that this was the first large eruption that the laki volcano has had:)

    In reply to the Sichuan Earthquake group, yes the disaster caused much damage to areas outside of Iceland. As we already wrote: due to the sulfuric dioxide gases spewed into the northern hemisphere, caused crop failures in Europe, droughts in India and Japans worst ever famine. The amount of snow in New Jersey reached a new record, the Mississippi froze at New Orleans, and there was ice in the Gulf of Mexico. 6 million people died all together due to famine, freezing temperatures and of the poison released (fluorine and sulfur dioxide) The Laki eruption produced the largest lava flow in the history of the Earth- 2.9 cubic miles of lava which covered 218 square miles. We have now put up a picture of the ash fall over Europe so that you can visualize the damage better:)

    Reply

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