Visitors flock to see ‘cute’ volcano
Should we be scared of them? A volcano in Iceland has woken up after 700 years and is putting on a stunning lava show. Rather than avoiding it, hundreds of people are racing to see it.
Rannveig was relaxing at home when she glanced out her window.
It was 8:45pm on a Friday night. The sky should have been dark. But instead, it was glowing a deep red. Rannveig wasn’t surprised. She knew what was happening. Somewhere in the mountains, a volcano was erupting.
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Rannveig lives in Iceland. Last week, a mountain called Fagradalsfjall awoke after 700 years. Lava flew into the air, lighting up the night sky.
Residents in Iceland are used to volcanoes. The country sits between two tectonic plates. When they move, they cause earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Locals had lots of warning for this eruption. There were 40,000 earthquakes in the weeks before.
Volcanic eruptions can be dangerous. Ash can travel up to 25km into the sky. Lava is 1250C.
But this eruption is small. And hundreds of people are excited to see it. Visitors are walking around the mountain filming it. Some are even cooking sausages on the hot rock. Fans have nicknamed it “the cute volcano”.
Shouldn’t we be more scared of them?
Of course. Eruptions are terrifying and can kill people. Volcanoes are so big, it is difficult to escape them. And they can have a huge effect on nature. In 2010, another Icelandic eruption created so much dust that planes around the world had to stop. And supervolcanoes can cause whole ice ages. We are right to be a bit scared of them!
Not really. Eruptions are mighty, but they are not as bad as other events. People are killed more often in accidents caused by humans – like car crashes. What’s more, we are getting far better at predicting eruptions and getting people to safety. People happily live near volcanoes all over the world. We shouldn’t be too scared.
- Would you ever live near a volcano?
- Imagine you live near a volcano. In pairs, write down five things you would do to prepare for an emergency. Share your ideas with the class.
Some People Say...
“Men argue. Nature acts.”Voltaire (1694 – 1778), French philosopher
What do you think?
- To glance is to give a quick, unimportant look at something.
- A landform where molten – or melted – rock comes up through the surface of the planet. The molten rock (called magma) comes from underneath the Earth’s crust.
- The name is Icelandic and literally means “lava in the beautiful valley”.
- Tectonic plates
- Pieces of land that connect together on Earth’s outer shell. They are like a giant round jigsaw covering Earth under the ground and sea. They bump and move together a few centimetres at a time.
- A sudden, quick shaking or shock of the Earth’s surface.
- Volcanic activity
- An active volcano is one that produces activity. This can be anything from letting out gases to a giant explosion of rock, lava and ash.
- A mixture of rock, minerals and glass that erupts from the volcano. It is dangerous and can block out the sun – but also makes the ground very fertile. Crops grow very well in areas near volcanoes.
- Hot, liquid rock that flows from a volcano. Before it leaves the volcano it is called magma. Once it cools and hardens it becomes a kind of rock called igneous rock.
- Cooking sausages
- As the lava begins to harden, it looks like rock. But it is still hot enough to cook hotdogs!