Laki or Lakagígar (Craters of Laki) is a volcanic fissure in the south of Iceland, not far from the canyon of Eldgjá and the small village Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Lakagígar is the correct name, as Laki mountain itself did not erupt, but
fissures opened up on each side of it. Lakagígar is part of a volcanic system centered on the Grímsvötn volcano and including the Þórðarhyrna volcano. It lies between the glaciers of Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull, in an area of fissures
that run in a south-west to north-east direction.
The system erupted over an eight-month period between 1783 and 1784 from the Laki fissure and the adjoining Grímsvötn volcano, pouring out an estimated 14 km3 (3.4 cu mi) of basalt lava and clouds of poisonous hydrofluoric acid and
sulfur dioxide compounds that killed over 50% of Iceland's livestock population, leading to a famine that killed approximately 25% of the island's human population.
The Laki eruption and its aftermath caused a drop in global temperatures, as sulfur dioxide was spewed into the Northern Hemisphere. This caused crop failures in Europe and may have caused droughts in India. The eruption has been
estimated to have killed over six million people globally, making the eruption the deadliest in historical times.
Standing at a small waterfall near Kirkjubæjarklaustur (Iceland). This is none of the large and famou...
Beautiful little canyon in the south of Iceland shaped by the force of a glacier.
The Bláhnjúkur (which stands for 'Blue Peak' in the icelandic language) is a mountain in the Landmann...
This is one of the most stunning place I ever saw. You go there by 4WD or bus, but not with the avera...
The Pearl of the highlands, situated in the interior of Iceland. This area is only accessible in the ...
The name Svartifoss (meaning Black Waterfall) is obvious, but the black basalt columns that flank the...
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.