What’s the latest on the Iceland volcano that’s cancelling flights to Europe? While airlines have grounded their planes and are making test flights to evaluate the situation, winds are sending rocks and debris from the eruption into Europe, and these are not ORDINARY rocks.

Most pilots learn about how to fly through ash during flight training. It’s called “VA,” for “volcanic ash.” In Wired.com, Jason Paur reports that in 2000, NASA studied VA by flying a DC-8 through a cloud of volcanic ash that was too small to be seen by the flight crew. Despite this, a post-flight examination revealed that the plane’s engines were damaged. More than 90 planes have been damaged after flying through volcanic ash over the past 30 years.

Iceland sits atop a big plume of mantle rock with a spreading, mushroom-shaped magma dome that is wider than all of Iceland. Geoscientist Sheila Seaman says that the aspect of Iceland’s volcanoes that is of particular interest to geoscientists is that within the magmas being extruded there are small amounts of lightweight, light-colored volcanic materials known as felsic rock, which “has no reason whatsoever for being there, it’s the kind of stuff found in continental crust, not ocean crust.”

The new magma now erupting from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano hardens to create new ocean floor, which means that North America is moving about an inch and a half further from Europe each year and Iceland is being torn apart by the spreading. Will that country still EXIST tomorrow?

We had a DIFFERENT (delightful!) kind of eruption in Nashville last summer and if you missed it (or want to experience it again), here’s your chance. And if you want to find out what your favorite Dreamland hosts, like Marla Frees and Jim Marrs, are thinking about THIS YEAR, join us on June 25-27 for a thought-provoking good time!

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