So Kastljós this evening had a fascinating eyewitness report of their cameraman driving through the ash cloud and back again. It was an unusual sort of segment for Kastljós, more like a visual blog post – very personal. You can watch it here [at least for the next two weeks] — even if you don’t speak Icelandic it’s kind of crazy to see the images and driving through the thick cloud of ash. Near the end of it the narrator says he can’t wait to get out of it, that it is oppressive and stifling, and I totally get what he means.
Afterward there was an interview with volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarsson, who lives in Edinburgh and who is a professor there if I’m not mistaken. He made some interesting and positive comments. Apparently there is a very good chance that vegetation can survive if the ash on the ground is less than ten centimeters thick, and so far in the vicinity of Eyjafjallajökull there are about 4.5-5 cm of ash on the ground. That amount of ash can actually wash into the soil very quickly and is even a very good fertilizer, meaning the ground is richer in minerals than before. There had been some concern because some of the ash that had got wet had coagulated and become very hard, almost like a layer of cement over the ground. Well, according to Þorvaldur this can be broken up using special equipment, to help it be absorbed by the ground more easily.
This is very good news. It’s been very difficult to see news and interviews with the farmers in the Eyjafjallajökull area, many of whom see their fields severely damaged and who are very distraught and worried about their livestock. One farmer announced this morning that he would be abandoning his farm entirely, and Ólafur Eggertsson, who took this picture and who has become a bit of a celebrity as a result, said he hopes the revenues from the sales of the photo [it’s been published far and wide, as many of you know] will help pay for repairs to the flood barriers on his farm.
Today the eruption appears to be diminishing – scientists who flew over the glacier reported that the ground had deflated slightly, which may indicate that there is less magma in the chamber beneath the volcano. The cloud emitting from the eruption is also much smaller now, with less ash in it. So we’re crossing our fingers that it will soon be over, although we know there are no guarantees.