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April 27, 2019

The Mossy Lava Fields of Iceland


From Amusing Planet:



Moss is a common plant in Iceland.

It grows abundantly in the mountainous region and is a special characteristic of Iceland's lava fields.


One of the most spectacular moss blankets is located on the southern coast of Iceland, over the Eldhraun Lava Field.

The Eldhraun Lava Field was created in one of the most devastating eruptions in recorded history.


Over a course of eight months, between 1783 and 1784, the Laki fissure and the adjoining Grímsvötn volcano poured out an estimated 14 cubic kilometers of basalt lava and clouds of poisonous gases that contaminated the soil, killing half of Iceland's cattle and horses, and more than three-quarters of its sheep.


That year, nothing grew in the fields and no fish could be found in the sea.

The resulting famine killed approximately a quarter of the island's human population.

The worst consequences were felt in Europe.

The summer of 1783 was the hottest on record and a rare high-pressure zone over Iceland caused the winds to blow to the southeast.


The poisonous cloud drifted across Europe, and inhalation of its contents killed tens of thousands.

In Great Britain alone, it caused some 23,000 deaths.


As the weather became hot, thunderstorms became more severe and large hailstones rained down from the sky, causing injury and death to cattle.

The following winter was extremely cold and caused 8,000 additional deaths in the England.


During the spring thaw, Germany and central Europe reported severe flood damage.

In France, a series of crop failures and the resulting poverty and famine eventually triggered the French Revolution of 1789-1799.


Today, the Eldhraun Lava Field looks very peaceful and serene.

The thick green moss has helped softened the rugged landscape, almost disguising Eldhraun's violent past.

April 27, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


That I didn't know.

Very interesting. Thanks.

Posted by: Fred | Apr 27, 2019 5:08:29 PM

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