Wednesday, November 12, 2014

PLANETARY TREMORS: "A Good-Sized Quake" - Powerful 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Kansas, Felt By Residents Across Oklahoma, Texas And Nebraska!

USGS earthquake location map.

November 12, 2014 - KANSAS, UNITED STATES
- A large earthquake that originated in Kansas was felt by residents across Oklahoma,  Texas And Nebraska Wednesday afternoon.

The 4.8 magnitude temblor rumbled at 3:40 p.m., eight miles to the south of Conway Springs, Kansas, or about 124 miles north of the Oklahoma City metro, at a depth of three miles.

Several viewers called and wrote in, reporting to have felt the quake, some even as far south as Norman, Okla. So far there have been no reports of damage or injuries related to this earthquake.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey the quake was the same one felt as faraway as Irving and Dallas and Fort Worth. That’s not surprising, says John Bellini, a geophysicist with the USGS.

“It was also felt almost to the Nebraska border on the northern side,” he says, not to mention throughout Oklahoma and Kansas. Bellini says that nothing has been recorded in North Texas in the last hour.

But that Kansas quake, he says, “was a good-sized quake.”

Indeed: The USGS response chart, which continues to update, shows several reports from Dallas, Fort Worth, Allen, Irving, Denton, Wichita Falls and nearby Bellevue. Twitter also shows that some folks felt it Grand Prairie and Arlington.


USGS earthquake shakemap.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 2.5 to 3.0 are generally the smallest ones felt by humans. Damage is more likely with earthquakes at magnitudes 4.0 and higher.

Earthquake activity in the area has greatly increased in recent years. The USGS said a likely factor in the dramatic rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma’s is wastewater injection, a byproduct of the oil and gas industry.

The southern part of Kansas has been experiencing an upsurge in earthquakes this year. A panel commissioned by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback found there wasn't enough evidence to link the temblors to oil and gas exploration. The panel is recommending more study and the installation of more monitoring stations.

Forty earthquakes magnitude 2.5 or greater have rattled northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas in the last week, according to the USGS. Wednesday afternoon’s was by far the strongest.

- News9 | LA Times | AP | Dallas News.



Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the Stable Continental Region

Natural Occurring Earthquake Activity

Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes. Here and there earthquakes are more numerous, for example in the New Madrid seismic zone centered on southeastern Missouri, in the Charlevoix-Kamouraska seismic zone of eastern Quebec, in New England, in the New York - Philadelphia - Wilmington urban corridor, and elsewhere. However, most of the enormous region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the west. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area more than ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. It would not be unusual for a magnitude 4.0 earthquake in eastern or central North America to be felt by a significant percentage of the population in many communities more than 100 km (60 mi) from its source. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake in eastern or central North America might be felt by much of the population out to more than 500 km (300 mi) from its source. Earthquakes east of the Rockies that are centered in populated areas and large enough to cause damage are, similarly, likely to cause damage out to greater distances than earthquakes of the same magnitude centered in western North America.

Most earthquakes in North America east of the Rockies occur as faulting within bedrock, usually miles deep. Few earthquakes east of the Rockies, however, have been definitely linked to mapped geologic faults, in contrast to the situation at plate boundaries such as California's San Andreas fault system, where scientists can commonly use geologic evidence to identify a fault that has produced a large earthquake and that is likely to produce large future earthquakes. Scientists who study eastern and central North America earthquakes often work from the hypothesis that modern earthquakes occur as the result of slip on preexisting faults that were formed in earlier geologic eras and that have been reactivated under the current stress conditions. The bedrock of Eastern North America is, however, laced with faults that were active in earlier geologic eras, and few of these faults are known to have been active in the current geologic era. In most areas east of the Rockies, the likelihood of future damaging earthquakes is currently estimated from the frequencies and sizes of instrumentally recorded earthquakes or earthquakes documented in historical records.
Induced Seismicity

As is the case elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that some central and eastern North America earthquakes have been triggered or caused by human activities that have altered the stress conditions in earth's crust sufficiently to induce faulting. Activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth's crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations. In much of eastern and central North America, the number of earthquakes suspected of having been induced is much smaller than the number of natural earthquakes, but in some regions, such as the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced. Even within areas with many human-induced earthquakes, however, the activity that seems to induce seismicity at one location may be taking place at many other locations without inducing felt earthquakes. In addition, regions with frequent induced earthquakes may also be subject to damaging earthquakes that would have occurred independently of human activity. Making a strong scientific case for a causative link between a particular human activity and a particular sequence of earthquakes typically involves special studies devoted specifically to the question. Such investigations usually address the process by which the suspected triggering activity might have significantly altered stresses in the bedrock at the earthquake source, and they commonly address the ways in which the characteristics of the suspected human-triggered earthquakes differ from the characteristics of natural earthquakes in the region. - USGS.


Kansas - Earthquake History

The earliest, and possibly the strongest, shock reported within Kansas' borders occurred April 24, 1867. Several persons were injured, though not seriously. Plaster cracked, objects were thrown from shelves, and doors and windows were shaken at Lawrence. The earthquake was also felt strongly at Manhattan, where stones loosened on buildings and walls cracked. A heavy wave, about two feet high, was observed on the Kansas River at Manhattan. The tremor was felt over an area of 300,000 square miles in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and possibly Ohio.

A moderate earthquake near Valley Falls, northeast of Topeka, on November 8, 1875, was felt over about 8,000 square miles in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Dishes rattled; windows shook; some buildings rocked or quivered (intensity V).

Eastern Kansas felt the effects of a strong earthquake centered near Charleston, Missouri, in 1895. The October 31 shock affected about one million square miles over 23 States. Topeka reported the strongest effects in Kansas - houses shook and people were awakened. Dishes and windows rattled in other towns.

The area around Dodge City and Meade, in western Kansas, was shaken with an intensity V earthquake on October 27, 1904. Some reports indicated three shocks were felt at Dodge City.

On January 7, 1906, a strong shock affected an area of about 10,000 square miles in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Chimneys were thrown down and some cracks in walls were observed at Manhattan (intensity VII). Houses and buildings vibrated at Topeka, where a loud roaring sound was also heard. Some towns reported feeling two or three shocks. A series of small aftershocks of the January 7 earthquake was felt in Manhattan, the last being reported on January 23.

An earthquake on March 18, 1927, near White Cloud, in the extreme northeastern portion of the State, rocked houses such that people rushed out of them. The felt area was limited to about 300 square miles.

Four shocks - two on September 23, 1929, one each on October 21 and December 7, 1929 - were reported from the same area of northeastern Kansas. Houses shook over a broad area around Manhattan in September. The total affected area covered approximately 15,000 square miles. The October tremor was felt over an area of 8,000 square miles; that in December covered only 1,000 square miles. The maximum reported intensity of all these earthquakes was V.

A moderate earthquake was felt on February 20, 1933, over about 6,000 square miles in Norton and Decatur counties, Kansas, and Furnas and Harlan counties, Nebraska. Buildings and houses swayed; dishes and windows rattled; people ran out of their houses.

A damaging earthquake centered near El Reno, Oklahoma on April 9, 1952, affected a total area of 140,000 square miles, including all of the eastern half of Kansas. The magnitude 5.5 shock was felt in Kansas most strongly (intensity V) at Medicine Lodge; intensity V effects were also observed at Kansas City.

On January 6, 1956, minor damage occurred at Coats, Coldwater, Medicine Lodge, and Wilmore, Kansas, and Alva, Oklahoma. The damage was limited to loosened bricks, cracked plaster and chimneys, and objects knocked from walls and shelves. Many observers reported being shaken from their beds by the shock a few minutes before 6 a.m. The total felt area covered approximately 16,000 square miles.

Another felt earthquake with an epicenter in Kansas occurred April 13, 1961. The area affected was about the same as that from the 1933 tremor, principally Norton County, Kansas, and Furnas County, Nebraska. Intensity V was the maximum reported from this region.

The November 9, 1968, earthquake centered in southern Illinois was felt moderately throughout the eastern portion of Kansas. All or parts of 23 states were affected by this magnitude 5.3 shock. - USGS.



SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: NASA Spots Mysterious Light As Bright As ALL The Known Galaxies COMBINED - Thought To Be Glow From Orphaned Stars Flung Out Of Galaxies; Redefining What Scientists Think Of As A Galaxy!

This artist's concept shows a view of a number of galaxies sitting in huge halos of stars. The stars are too distant to be seen individually and instead are seen as
a diffuse glow, colored yellow in this illustration. The CIBER rocket experiment detected this diffuse infrared background glow in the sky and
found that the glow between galaxies equals the total amount of infrared light coming from known galaxies.

November 12, 2014 - SPACE
- Nasa has detected a surprising surplus of infrared light in the dark space between galaxies.

Baffled astronomers say the lights is a diffuse cosmic glow as bright as all known galaxies combined.

They believe it could be from orphaned stars flung out of galaxies.

The findings redefine what scientists think of as galaxies, Nasa said.

Galaxies may not have a set boundary of stars, but instead stretch out to great distances, forming a vast, interconnected sea of stars. 

'We think stars are being scattered out into space during galaxy collisions,' said Michael Zemcov, lead author of a new paper describing the results from the rocket project and an astronomer at the California Institute of
Technology (Caltech) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. 

'While we have previously observed cases where stars are flung from galaxies in a tidal stream, our new measurement implies this process is widespread.'

WATCH: NASA spots mysterious light as bright as ALL the galaxies.



WHAT IS AN ORPHAN STAR?

Galaxies like our Milky Way are made up of stars, dust and dark matter bound together by gravity. 

As galaxies drift through space, they periodically crash into each other.

Stars and the other galactic stuff can merge together in these mash-ups, but some stars that were born and resided in these galaxies are stripped away and cast as debris into the cosmic wilderness - and they are known as orphan stars 
Using suborbital sounding rockets, which are smaller than those that carry satellites to space and are ideal for short experiments, the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment (CIBER) captured wide-field pictures of the cosmic infrared background at two infrared wavelengths shorter than those seen by Spitzer.

Because our atmosphere itself glows brightly at these particular wavelengths of light, the measurements can only be done from space.

'It is wonderfully exciting for such a small NASA rocket to make such a huge discovery,' said Mike Garcia, program scientist from NASA Headquarters. 

'Sounding rockets are an important element in our balanced toolbox of missions from small to large.'

During the CIBER flights, the cameras launch into space, then snap pictures for about seven minutes before transmitting the data back to Earth.


The CIBER rocket launch, taken from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in 2013.This photo shows a time-lapse capture of the first three stages of
the Black Brant XII class rocket at the time of launch.  It detected a surprising surplus of infrared light in the dark space between galaxies.

Scientists masked out bright stars and galaxies from the pictures and carefully ruled out any light coming from more local sources, such as our own Milky Way galaxy.

What's left is a map showing fluctuations in the remaining infrared background light, with splotches that are much bigger than individual galaxies. 

The brightness of these fluctuations allows scientists to measure the total amount of background light.

To the surprise of the CIBER team, the maps revealed a dramatic excess of light beyond what comes from the galaxies. 

The data showed that this infrared background light has a blue spectrum, which means it increases in brightness at shorter wavelengths. 

This is evidence the light comes from a previously undetected population of stars between galaxies.

Light from the first galaxies would give a spectrum of colors that is redder than what was seen.

HOW THEY DID IT

The CIBER experiment consists of three instruments, including two spectrometers to determine the brightness of Zodiacal light and measure the cosmic infrared background directly. 

The measurements in the recent publication are made with two wide-field cameras to search for fluctuations in two wavelengths of near infrared light. 

Earth's upper atmosphere glows brightly at the CIBER wavelengths. 

But the measurements can be done in space—avoiding that glow—in just the short amount of time that a suborbital rocket flies above the atmosphere, before descending again back toward the planet.

CIBER flew four missions in all; the paper includes results from the second and third of CIBER's flights, launched in 2010 and 2012 from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and recovered afterward by parachute. 

In the flights, the researchers observed the same part of the sky at a different time of year, and swapped the detector arrays as a crosscheck against data artifacts created by the sensors.


This graphic illustrates how the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, or CIBER, team measures a diffuse glow of infrared light filling the spaces between
galaxies. The glow does not come from any known stars and galaxies; instead, the CIBER data suggest it comes from stars flung out of galaxies. First, sky
images are collected via different rocket flights. A small part of a sky image is shown in the left panel. The actual images are 20 times the area of the full moon.

In short, , 'although we designed our experiment to search for emission from first stars and galaxies, that explanation doesn't fit our data very well, Zemcov says

'The best interpretation is that we are seeing light from stars outside of galaxies but in the same dark matter halos. 

'The stars have been stripped from their parent galaxies by gravitational interactions—which we know happens from images of interacting galaxies—and flung out to large distances.' 

Future experiments can test whether stray stars are indeed the source of the infrared cosmic glow. If the stars were tossed out from their parent galaxies, they should still be located in the same vicinity. 

The CIBER team is working on better measurements using more infrared colors to learn how stripping of stars happened over cosmic history. - Daily Mail.



RATTLE & HUM: "It Was Very Weird,... Wow,... It Was Loud,..." - Lafayette Police And Residents Still Confused By Unexplained Mysterious Booms In Indiana!



November 12, 2014 - INDIANA, UNITED STATES
- It rattled homes and the nerves of people living in Lafayette, but the questions about a late night boom linger long after it occurred.

The buzz Monday at the Lafayette Brewing Company and all around the city was about what happened the night before.

"It was very weird. Very weird," said Jennifer Russell.

"It was more of a solid thud, it wasn't so (explosion sound), it was more of a 'boom,' then nothing happened," said Jim Surface.

Around 11 p.m. Sunday, there was an explosion, or something like it.

"It was a sudden, 'Wow, it's there, it's loud' and then it's over. Almost as quickly as it started, it was done," Russell said.

The calls came pouring into 911.

"Yes. It's very weird," said Lafayette Police Lt. Brian Gossard.

But officers who searched citywide couldn't find anything. No car accidents, no fires.


WATCH: Unexplained booms in Lafayette.




So what was the source of the sound that could be heard all over Lafayette? Police say there were no explosions last night. They checked with Duke Energy, factories and airports and found nothing.

So what was it?

"We don't really know what the cause was and today, nobody's reported anything suspicious," Gossard said.

The lack of an explanation is unsettling to some.

"Yeah, that's kind of worrisome, just because it seemed to be so close to where I lived, that not knowing what it was, I was very curious and now I'm even more so," Russell said.

Others could care less.

"I don't scare easy. I'm a little guy. I'm 5'4", so if I was scared of big things, I'd be scared of everything," Surface said.

The case will likely be closed without a resolution.

"If nothing comes in, I guess we'll chalk it up to one of those things we'll never know about," Gossard said.

A mysterious sound in the night that inexplicably came and went.

"Just another crazy day in Lafayette, Indiana," Surface said. - WTHR.




MONUMENTAL PLANETARY TREMORS: Scientists - Nevada Earthquake Cluster Is The Biggest In A Decade; Could Be The Precursor To A Larger Earthquake To Come!


November 12, 2014 - NEVADA, UNITED STATES
- Scientists in Reno and across the West are keeping a close eye on an earthquake cluster shaking a remote area where Nevada meets Oregon and California, acknowledging the series of temblors that continued Tuesday could be the precursor of a larger earthquake to come.

There is, of course, no way to know for sure.

"This is kind of the gold medal of swarms over the last decade," said Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory.

Already, Kent said, this latest swarm has surpassed a previous Nevada earthquake swarm that shook the Mogul area west of Reno in 2008, another that hit Spanish Springs last year and a third that impacted the Hawthorne area in 2011.

Since mid-July, more than 500 earthquakes of magnitude 2 or greater have hit an area located west of Nevada's Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge about 40 miles northeast of Cedarville, Calif., and 40 miles southeast of Lakeview, Ore. The swarm increased in intensity last week, with the strongest quake of magnitude 4.7 hitting Nov. 5. Quakes have continued this week, with several exceeding magnitude 3.

"It's certainly more vigorous than the Mogul swarm," Kent said, adding that should a quake of magnitude 6 or greater occur, towns like Cedarville and Lakeview could be significantly affected.

Kent and colleagues see some parallels to this cluster and the one that rattled nerves of residents in the Mogul-Somersett area over two months in 2008. That swarm consisted of an "increasingly vigorous" set of quakes, causing moderate local damage, that culminated with a magnitude 5 event.


Geologist Craig dePolo looks over a map in 2008 showing where the spate of earthquakes were clustered in the Mogul area. (Photo: David B. Parker/RGJ )

"The general trend over time is the largest magnitude in each burst is larger than the largest magnitude in the last burst," Kent said. "In the next one do we get a 5-plus? Obviously no one knows that answer."

Some scientists have speculated groundwater is slowly percolating along faults in the area of the latest cluster, making fault movement more likely. Kent isn't convinced groundwater is a major factor.

"I don't know that there is anything special (about groundwater) in that area," Kent said. "It's just another example of these swarms that seem to plague this area."


Dean and Sandy Jung examine one of many cracks that occurred at their Mogul home during an earthquake swarm in 2008. A new swarm of quakes
now occurring on the Oregon line is “more vigorous” than that event, seismologists say. (Photo: RGJ file )

The same remote characteristics that make it difficult for seismologists to install equipment to study the latest cluster also limit the amount of attention it is getting from the public.

Were the area as densely populated as west Reno, the swarm would be getting as much or more attention than the swarm that hit there six years ago, Kent said. It would also be of greater concern, he said.

Kent noted that for the last 60 years or so, Nevada – one of the nation's three most seismically active states – has been relatively quiet when it comes to earthquakes. Other periods farther back in history have produced more quakes, some of them strong, including in the Reno area.

"We are actually in a very quiet period where a few of these swarms get our attention," Kent said. "There has been a lot more activity in the past and we just have to keep that in mind." - RGJ.




CONTAGION: The Ebola Crisis - In An Alarming Setback, Mali Reports 2 New Deaths From The Deadly Virus In The Capital; Not Linked To The Only Other Known Case; About 50 People Under Quarantine!


November 12, 2014 - MALI
- Malian authorities on Wednesday reported two new deaths from Ebola that are not believed to be linked to the nation's only other known case, an alarming setback as Mali tries to limit the epidemic ravaging other countries in the region.

The announcement in this city of about 2 million came just a day after Malian health authorities said there had been no other reported cases — let alone deaths — after a 2-year-old girl who had traveled to Mali from Guinea succumbed to the virus in late October.

A nurse working at a clinic in the capital of Bamako died Tuesday, and tests later showed she had Ebola, Communications Minister Mahamadou Camara said Wednesday. A patient she had treated died on Monday and was later confirmed to have had the disease as well.

The patient — a Guinean national — came to the Clinique Pasteur on Oct. 25 late at night and was so ill he could not speak or give information about his symptoms, said the head of the clinic.

"His family did not give us all the information that would have led us to suspect Ebola," Dramane Maiga told The Associated Press.

Government health officials were slow to act, Maiga said. The nurse was hospitalized on Saturday and hospital officials did not call the health ministry until Monday morning. Health officials did not arrive at the clinic until 6 p.m. and by the time the test results came back, the 25-year-old nurse was already dead, said Maiga.

The new Ebola cases come just as public health officials started to think Mali had avoided the worst. The cases are stark reminders that the disease is hard to track and the entire West Africa region remains vulnerable as long as there are cases anywhere.

Nearly 5,000 people have died this year in the region from the virus, which first erupted in Guinea, on Mali's border.

Mali's first case initially caused alarm because officials said the toddler was bleeding from her nose as she traveled with relatives by public transport from Guinea to Mali, passing through Bamako and other towns en route to the western city of Kayes, where she died. Ebola is transmitted through the bodily fluids of people who are showing symptoms, which include bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea.

On Tuesday, officials said nearly 30 members of a family that was visited by the sick 2-year-old girl have been released from a 21-day quarantine after they showed no symptoms of the disease. Ebola can take up to 21 days to incubate.

About 50 other people who had possible contact with the girl remain under observation in Kayes, 375 miles (600 kilometers) from Bamako. They will be released from quarantine on Nov. 16 if they don't show symptoms. - ABC News.




Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak


MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Bardarbunga Volcano Erupts With Massive Lava Flow - Forces Icelanders To Hide; Lava Field Covers 70 SQUARE KILOMETERS, An Area Larger Than Manhattan; Over 200 Earthquakes In The Area In Just 3 Days; Authorities On High Alert!

Photographer: Bernard Meric/AFP via Getty Images

November 12, 2014 - ICELAND
- Bardarbunga volcano’s lava field now covers 65 square kilometers (25 square miles) and the amount of lava that has been spewed out equals about 1 cubic kilometer (0.24 cubic miles).

For the kids at the Graenuvellir kindergarten in Husavik, north Iceland, going out to play was not an option.

They were kept inside on Nov. 4 to protect them from sulfur-dioxide gases spewing from the Holuhraun lava field near the Bardarbunga volcano. The eruption has been going for almost three months and shows no sign of stopping. Red-hot lava has spread 70 square kilometers (27 square miles), covering an area larger than Manhattan.

“On regular days the kids go out to play to take in the fresh air, but that’s not really possible or safe under the current conditions,” Agusta Palsdottir, a manager at the kindergarten, which has 125 children between the ages of one and six, said in a Nov. 4 interview.

Icelanders can only wait for nature to run its course as they monitor how gas clouds drift across the island, itself a product of volcanic activity. As descendants of Viking settlers 1,200 years ago, Icelanders have learned to coexist with their volcanoes and to harness their power. Yet some events have proven deadlier than others. In the late 1700s, an eruption triggered a famine that killed 25 percent of Iceland’s population.


Tracking Gas

“There’s exactly nothing you can do, aside from going inside,” said Kristjan Thor Magnusson, mayor of Nordurthing, the municipality that includes Husavik, a 2,200-person town famous for its whale watching. “People that are more sensitive than others need to avoid physical exertion outside and try to stay inside and warm up their houses to prevent the gas from getting inside.”

The discomfort of the Graenuvellir kids is also being felt in other towns across Iceland long after the rest of the world stopped fretting over potential disruptions to trans-Atlantic air travel. The island’s Met Office tracks which way the sulfur-dioxide blows daily from the fissure that opened up in the lava field that dates back to an eruption from 1797.

“Which town is affected depends only on weather and winds,” Bergthora S. Thorbjarnardottir, a geophysicist at the Met Office, said in an interview.

Bardarbunga, one of Iceland’s largest volcanoes, began rumbling on Aug. 16. An eruption then started from a fissure 300 meters (984 feet) long and has since been moving northeast, away from the ice. An eruption under the ice of the glacier covering the volcano could cause an explosion that would spew ash into the air and disrupt air travel.


Quakes Continue

Since Nov. 7, about 200 earthquakes have rocked the area surrounding the eruption site, with the biggest one of about magnitude 5.2 measured yesterday evening. Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency today warned that gas pollution was expected mainly in the western part of the country.

At the beginning of the eruption, airlines were put on alert for a potential repeat of 2010, when a volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull ice cap spewed a column of ash 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) into the air. That event shut airspace across Europe for six days, forcing carriers to cancel more than 100,000 flights. Ash is a danger because the glass-like particles can damage jet engines.


Most Vulnerable

While the current eruption isn’t the largest on record, it’s being compared to the 1783 Lakagigar blowout, which lasted for seven to eight months and eventually covered 600 square kilometers in lava, Thorbjarnardottir said.

“There’s still a chance that the eruption in Holuhraun will pose a risk to international air travel,” she said. “Although there’s quite a bit of activity in the crater of Bardarbunga volcano, the activity does seem to be moving northeast, away from the ice cap.”

The government has issued warnings on the health risks. Exposure to sulfur-dioxide can cause irritation in the eyes, throat and lungs. High levels can lead to breathing difficulties. Children are the most vulnerable, according to the Health Directorate.

“Personally, I can feel the contamination a little,” said Palsdottir at the kindergarten. “Breathing is a little uncomfortable and it’s uncomfortable staying outside when the contamination comes in over our town.”
So most Icelanders are just hoping the wind blows the right way and also for rain to damp the gas clouds.

They may be in luck, according to the Met Office.

“Wind and rain is the best thing to happen for Icelanders while the eruption continues,” said Thorbjarnardottir. “Iceland usually has plenty of that.” - Bloomberg.