It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The largest eruption ever recorded, in Indonesia 200 years ago, wreaked havoc across the world, causing hunger, disease and death for years afterwards. When a volcanic event on that scale happens again – and it will – we should be prepared for serious disruption to our climate and food production
If you were one of the 10 million air travellers shaking your fist at the departures board in April 2010, you will appreciate the fact that – even in this tectonically peaceful realm – we ignore volcanic threats at our peril. Despite being nothing to write home about in terms of size, the eruption from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano brought air travel chaos to the UK and mainland Europe when its ash cloud grounded an astonishing 107,000 flights in the biggest air traffic shutdown since the second world war. The eight days of mayhem brought airline CEOs to the point of apoplexy and, once the ash had settled, the air travel business was left with a €1.3bn bill. The threat posed by Icelandic eruptions has since been recognised and added, retrospectively, to the UK’s National Risk Register, in the hope that next time we will be better prepared. But what about volcanic explosions further afield? These, it appears, are still regarded as posing no threat to our country, and so can be safely ignored. But turn the clock back 200 years and there is at least one event that suggests we ought to think twice.
In April 1815, the biggest known eruption of the historical period blew apart the Tambora volcano, on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, 12,000km from the UK. What happened next testifies to the enormous reach of the biggest volcanic blasts.
I think a scenario like that won't happen for another 10,000 years at least though, so don't worry.