Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ice and fire in the time of volcanism

When you have gotten tired of your too colorful and contrasty screen background and need something black to rest your eyes on, try one of these.  I love the one with the black labrador and the waterdrop on the chrysantemum petal. I know some readers of this blog probably would pick the black LEGOs :)
This one called leafage is by (matt) on Flickr (creative commons license).

 The volcano on Iceland is still spewing out ash and probably soon more lava, they say.  Can you imagine the first vikings that settled Iceland from Norway over a thousand years ago.  They came from a solid-rock country of granite and gneiss and limestone, billion year old rocks carved by ice ages, and were faced with a living breathing geologic living thing.  The earth moved and trembled, spewed out lava, ash, and rocks, sulfuric water boiled in hot pools, and whole mountains exploded and cracked open.  If you were a viking that had never heard of such things, what would you have thought?  I wonder how much of these experiences influenced the old Norse mythology and especially Ragnarök, their Doomsday.  I am sure it provided vivid imaginary of hell, except Old Norse didn't have hell and heaven (well, they did have hel, but that had a slightly different meaning than the home of the devil), they had Muspelheim and Valhalla. I find it kind of ironic that a hot place like this island was named Iceland ("Island"), and not Fireland ("Eldslandet").  (In 1947 Hekla, another one of the larger volcanoes erupted, see today's stamp from Iceland). Was it just wishful thinking from the vikings?

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