A massive volcano in Germany is showing signs of life, and it has some scientists worried. The Laacher See Volcano which sits under a lake near Bonn has the potential of raining ash and fire over, well...pretty much all of Europe.
Scientists say the Laacher See Volcano is similar in size to Mount Pinatubo, which erupted in Indonesia in 1991. Mount Pinatubo was considered the biggest eruption of the 20th century, causing global temperatures to cool by 0.5 degrees Celsius for an entire year!
The Volcano has historically erupted once every 10,000 - 12,000 years. The last eruption was 12,900 years ago.
It is hard to say exactly how devastating the Laacher See Volcano would be to Europe, but some scientists who were willing to talk about it said it would basically be TOTAL devastation. Cities all over Europe such as London, Berlin, Paris and others would be completely covered in ash.
While ash doesn't sound so devastating at first mention, it is important to realize what we are talking about when we talk about volcanic ash. Volcanic ash is not soft and fluffy like the ash created from burning wood. Volcanic ash is basically course pieces of stone smaller than the size of a grain of sand. It is conductive to electricity when wet, meaning that when it hits the atmosphere is causes massive electrical storms. It is heavy so it collapses buildings. The biggest issue is that if it is inhaled it gets into the lungs and mixes with the moisture present to form a paste which in construction terms is called concrete.
The Laacher See Volcano has the potential to eject Billions of tons of it into the air.
This past summer the Icelandic volcano that erupted called Eyjafjallajökull, stopped air traffic over Europe for days and had a huge impact on the continent. That volcano was about 1/10 the size of Laacher See.
For a few years now mini earthquakes have been detected under the ground at the site. In addition the lake that rests over the volcano has seen carbon dioxide bubbles drifting to the top of the lake which is usually a sign that the magma chamber underneath the mountain is beginning to evacuate.
We will see if maybe the Mayans were right on this one.
Are you afraid of an eruption over Europe?