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Iceland Eruptions Could Threaten European Climate-Health March 26, 2010
Satellite Image
The glow and rising steam from erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano can be seen for many miles across Iceland.
Fountains of lava blasted out of a snow-covered landscape in Iceland as Eyjafjallajokull volcano awakened from nearly 200 years of slumber.

At least 500 people were forced to evacuate as scientists warned that the far more dangerous Katla volcano always erupts after Eyjafjallajokull begins to spew.

Vulcanologists say that Mount Katla could become “enormously powerful” if it awakens from beneath a nearby glacier.

An eruption in the mid-1780s of another powerful Icelandic volcano, Laki, had disastrous consequences downwind in Europe.

Airborne volcanic debris altered weather patterns, causing crop failures and lowering temperatures for years.

Poisonous gas from the eruption killed many people in the British Isles after it was carried across the far North Atlantic by prevailing winds.

Past eruptions of Katla have caused massive flooding in Iceland, and sent house-sized boulders tumbling into valleys and onto roadways.

Photos: Top - Orvar Atli Þorgeirsson
Bottom - Ragnar Axelsson