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As most people who took earth and space science in high school know, volcanoes produce big booms that may or may not affect the entire planet. Several events in the globe’s history have produced worldwide disturbances, including the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull (try typing that three times fast) in 2010. During that boom, the volcano in the aptly named land of fire and ice grounded flights and projectile vomited a haze of earth’s innards across hemispheres.

And it may be happening again.

The Guardian reports that Icelandic volcano Bárðarbunga (seriously, Icelanders?) is making disturbing rumblings. And, it just might really mess with your travel plans or ability to eat food grown on farms.

Interestingly enough, over two hundred years ago Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin rightly predicted crazy immediately following the Revolutionary War. Liberal blog Daily Kos gives a rundown of just what things were like for Franklin and his compatriots during that era, reporting that Franklin was “puzzling over the nation’s bizarre weather…the Chesapeake Bay just wouldn’t melt. The Mississippi River froze down to New Orleans, and ice was reported floating in the Gulf of Mexico.” Across the Atlantic Ocean, old Europe endured “a bizarrely hot summer with thick fog that was choking people to death in Scotland, massive hailstones, lightning, and crop failures. The sun was blood-red at noon.”

Paints a pretty biblical picture, doesn’t it?

Contemplating the disturbances, Franklin rightly surmised that a volcano in Iceland was the culprit. He simply got the wrong volcano. After all, back then, they didn’t have satellites, GPS, or the ability to copy and paste dense blocs of consonants with Scandinavian letters like Ö or Ø. So cut him a break.

Still, the news out of Iceland is disturbing to say the least, particularly given the fact that Bárðarbunga isn’t just rumbling: It’s moving magma, the orangey, goopy lifeblood of earth’s core that, as Super Mario Bros. rightly points out, is dangerous. Magma on-the-move isn’t a good thing at all: It’s an indicator of a possibly imminent eruption. 

And that’s exactly what members of the scientific community, themselves in part heirs to Franklin’s legacy, are concerned about.

Whether or not this means you should hysterically buy cases of water and canned goods is unclear (after all, this is warm weather; bread, milk, and eggs only have their power during snowstorms). What is clear, though, is that it’s going to be an interesting next few months.

About The Author

Contributing columnist

Josh Kruger is an award-winning writer and commentator in Philadelphia. His @PhillyWeekly column, “The Uncomfortable Whole,” took the 2014 First Place Spotlight Award for weekly newspaper commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists and the 2014 Second Place Award for weekly newspaper commentary in the United States and Canada from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. He also blogs daily for PW on various topics including queer culture and news, mass transit, politics, crime, drugs, HIV/AIDS, civil liberties, activism, media and everything else Philly.

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