March 20, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano began erupting after slumbering for almost 190 years. The eruption also brought a threat of floods and earthquakes, while the resulting plume of volcanic ash shutdown the European airline industry, costing an estimated $200 million a day. In the short-term, the volcano has been bad for Northern Europe and given a boost to Iceland's tourist industry, but there are larger questions involved. With tedious predictability, a number of climate change alarmists quickly claimed that the volcano was caused by global warming. A more likely outcome is a cool Northern Hemisphere summer caused by airborne ash—which could give the alarmists an excuse for the continued lack of global temperature rise.
The Eyjafjallajökull eruption is the country's first since 2004, and the most dramatic since Hekla, Iceland's most active volcano, erupted in 2000. Though past eruptions have caused great devastation in Iceland, the bankrupt nation has enthusiastically welcomed the volcano inspired tourist boom. The widely publicized eruption has made the Eyjafjallajökull volcano a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers from around the world. Thousands of people have made the trip to the volcano, 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Reykjavi, to view the site where ash and red-hot lava spew from a crater between two glaciers. The trip can be expensive, even without airfare to Iceland—round trip on Icelandair, New York to Reykjavik, booked three weeks in advance with a minimum one week stay, is around US $699. Once there, local excursion prices range from €55 ($75), for a bus trip to view the volcano from a distance, to €200 ($270) for a “superjeep” ride almost to the rim of the crater.
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