April 14th, 2010

Iceland evacuates hundreds as volcano erupts again

By GUDJON HELGASON, Associated Press Writer Gudjon Helgason, Associated Press Writer 1 hr 42 mins ago

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – A volcano under a glacier in Iceland rumbled back to life Wednesday, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air and forcing hundreds of people to leave their homes as floodwaters rose.

Emergency officials evacuated 800 residents from around the Eyjafjallajokull glacier as rivers rose by up to 10 feet (3 meters) and flooded a sparsely populated area, said Rognvaldur Olafsson, a chief inspector for the Icelandic Civil Protection Agency.

He said no lives or properties were in immediate danger. Scientists said there was no sign of increased activity at the much larger Katla volcano nearby.

Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, said magma was melting a hole in the 650-foot (200 meter) thick ice covering the volcano's crater, sending floodwater coursing down the glacier into lowland areas.

The Civil Protection Agency said commercial aircraft had reported seeing steam plumes rising from the glacier. There were no immediate signs of large clouds of volcanic ash, which could disrupt air travel between Europe and North America, and Iceland's international airport remained open.

A Coast Guard plane was flying over the area, which was obscured by heavy cloud.

The volcano, 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Reykjavik, erupted March 20 after almost 200 years of silence.

The original eruption petered out earlier this week. But Gunnar Gudmunsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said there had been a series of tremors overnight, and rivers in the area began rising Wednesday morning — strong evidence of a new eruption under the glacier.



"Most probably this eruption is taking place at the summit ... under the ice," he said.

Last month's eruption struck near the glacier in an area that had no ice. Gudmunsson said the new eruption appeared to be about eight or nine kilometers (five to six miles) west of the original fissure.

Residents were evacuated to a Red Cross center in the nearby community of Hvolsvollur, the protection agency said.

Iceland, a nation of 320,000 people, sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge. Volcanic eruptions are often triggered by seismic activity when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.

The last time there was an eruption near the 100-square-mile (160 square-kilometer) Eyjafjallajokull glacier was in 1821.

A bigger worry is Katla, which in the past has erupted in tandem with Eyjafjallajokull.

Katla is located under the vast Myrdalsjokull ice cap. An eruption could cause widespread flooding and disrupt air traffic between Europe and North America.

The last major eruption took place in 1918, and vulcanologists say a new blast is overdue.

"So far there have been no signs of the reawakening of the Katla volcano, but a lot of things can still happen, so we are monitoring it quite closely," Einarsson said.


Associated Press writers Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.


On the Net:

Volcano webcam: http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-thorolfsfelli/

The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower


 I'm glad to know that writing is a struggle at times for others, and it's not just me. Maybe that means I'm doing something right.

Also, I would have to add discipline to reinforce the willpower.

The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower

In a strange twist of either delusions of grandeur or masochism, writers have done their best to convince the world that writing is a wondrous pursuit filled with nothing but sudden bursts of inspiration and creativity after painful writer's block.

You know how it goes in the movies and on TV: The morose writer will be walking down the street and a stranger will say to them, "Hey, jerkwad, what are you staring at?" and then the writer will get a funny little smile and walk a little faster and then pretty soon they're skipping down the street toward their typewriter shouting, "Jerkwad! Jerkwad!! BY GOD I'VE GOT IT!!!!" and then there's a montage of them frantically typing out their future bestseller.

I don't know about your writing process, but that isn't how mine works.

Sure, there are Eureka moments walking down the street or in the shower or while at the zoo ("Monkeys... MONKEYS!!!"), but if novelists wrote only when they were inspired it would take a hundred years to string together a novel. If you're really going to finish one, you're not only going to have to spend quite a lot of time writing and revising when you don't feel like it, you're going to have to spend quite a lot of time writing when you would rather be lighting your toes on fire.

The great Jane Yolen has a name for this: BIC.
Butt. In. Chair. That is the writing process. Butt in chair.

You could also call it:

OMGTWISNTBICGOBINTW: "Oh my god the weather is so nice today but I can't go outside because I need to write."

IRWICGTTBGBIHTW: "I really wish I could go to that baseball game but I have to write."

DMMIJGTSATBCSUITOS: "Don't mind me, I'm just going to stare at this blank computer screen until I think of something."

Just about everyone on the planet thinks about writing a novel at some point. Many of them really could and many of them could do it really well.

But there's only one way to actually do it: BIC. Powering through when you want to stop, blocking out days on the calendar when there are more fun things you could be doing, staring at the pad or screen early mornings and late nights, and most of all, setting aside your doubts along the way.

And that's of course even before you summon your willpower to try and jump through the hoops necessary to get the thing published.

If writing is always fun you may be doing it wrong.

Not to be out done

I have noticed a plethora of quotes floating around today, so I thought I'd jump in.
This is one of my favorites.

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language, is that
English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words;
on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them
unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."
        ~James D. Nicoll