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Please, big thinkers, tell us what the ash cloud means 4 May 2010

Posted by admin in Eyjafjöll, Iceland, volcano culture, volcanoes.
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When the Eyjafjallajökull ash cloud disruption was at its height and I was waiting for news of my own family members and friends who were stranded here and there across Europe, I remember thinking to myself, ‘I hope that somewhere the Big Thinkers are getting to work on this’.

Well, I needn’t have worried. The Edge Foundation, where complex and sophisticated minds are put in a room with each other in order to produce astonishingly smart ideas (which are then published on astonishingly long and ugly web pages) were on the case. Wired Magazine will tell you all about it: Big thinkers on what the ash cloud means.

The results can be read on the Edge’s ash cloud special event page. Among the notable contributions: Haim Harari, Alexandra ZukermanMartin Menzies and James O’Donnell are smart and interesting, Charles Simonyi and J. Doyne Farmer are sensible, Greg Paul and Alun Anderson* are doomy, Karl Sabbagh, Matthew Ritchie and James Croak are fatuous, Emanuel Derman is wrong, and Matt Ridley gets a special mention for his glib ignorance about the work of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres.

* Alun Anderson is very worried about Katla erupting. Although it isn’t that long ago that he was telling us ‘I wouldn’t mind a big volcanic eruption’.

For all our Eyjafjallajökull coverage: Eyjafjöll « The Volcanism Blog.

The Volcanism Blog

Comments

1. Craig - 4 May 2010

Question for you? Is it possible that Saturn’s rings are the result of a super volcanic explosion?

Does volcanic debris ever get into orbit?

2. admin - 4 May 2010

I don’t think so. A ‘super volcanic explosion’ is somewhat unlikely on gassy Saturn. If such an event happened elsewhere, it is difficult to see why the resulting debris would end up orbiting Saturn in the form of rings. In any case, the rings seem to be mainly ice, mixed with debris and dust from asteroids and comets.

As for the second question, I stand to be corrected but I don’t think there is any evidence of terrestrial volcanic material ever getting into orbit.


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