Hekla Volcano erupting just a rumor on Twitter, for now

A volcanic eruption viewed from space

Hekla Volcano erupting was just a rumor on Twitter, but an actual eruption of the volcano in Iceland dwarf last week's eruption and the disruption in air travel it has caused. Photo from National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Hekla Volcano erupting in Iceland was the subject of an explosion of rumors after an errant Twitter feed sounded the alarm that the ninth most dangerous volcano in Europe had awakened. The MSNBC Twitter feed was a false alarm. However, the next time Hekla Volcano news erupts it could make the economic fallout of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland last week seem like a small personal loan. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano’s ash cloud over Europe has disrupted air travel world wide and is costing airlines hundreds of millions in cash today. Hekla Volcano erupting could endanger the lives of 10,000 people living nearby and cool temperatures in the northern hemisphere for a couple of years.

Hekla Volcano History

Hekla Volcano history shows its largest known eruption occurred in about 950 B.C. Scientists estimate this eruption spewed more than four cubic miles of volcanic rock into the atmosphere. That’s an explosion more than six times greater than the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 in Oregon. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 threw six cubic miles of material into the air, which formed a global sulfuric acid haze, lowered temperatures around the world and temporarily increased depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer.

Hekla Volcano News

Hekla Volcano news surfaced today as it was classified as one of Europe’s most dangerous volcanoes in a new study by the Willis Research Network (WRN). The study ranks European volcanoes with the potential to disrupt populations of greater than 10,000. Hekla Volcano ranked ninth in the study. Italy’s Mount Vesuvius was number one. If Mount Vesuvius were to explode to its full potential, 8,000 people could be killed and 13,000 seriously injured. Economic losses could add up to more than $24 billion.

Hekla Volcano versus Mount Vesuvius

Hekla Volcano’s potential for destruction doesn’t come close to that of Vesuvius, largely because its so remote. But it erupts much more often. The WRN study found that 1.7 million people are exposed to Vesuvius’ imminent wrath. Hekla Volcano threatens 10,000. Property damage from Hekla Volcano erupting is estimated at $400 million. Since 1104, then there have been between 20 and 30 considerable eruptions of Hekla Volcano, with the mountain sometimes remaining active for periods of six years without stopping.

Ash cloud over Europe spreading

Meanwhile, the ash cloud over Europe from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, a pipsqueak compared to the volcanoes on the WRN list, continues to wreak havoc with air travel worldwide. The New York Times cited it as worst peacetime air travel disruption ever. The nearly weeklong shutdown of airports stranded thousands and cost airlines hundreds of millions of dollars in money now. It’s a good thing Hekla Volcano erupting was nothing but Twitter noise.

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