Laki Volcanic Eruption Blights Europe

(258 words)

Historical Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume Icelandic Writing and Culture.

On June 8 1783 a 17-mile long crack appeared in the Grimsvotn volcanic complex in Iceland. Over the next eight months as many as 130 lava fountains nearly one mile high along the line of the crack poured out 3.6 cubic miles of lava, 120m tons of sulphur dioxide, and many millions of tons of fine dust. These plumes rose as high as ten miles. The Grimsvotn volcano at the centre of the complex continued to erupt violently until 1785.

The eruptions caused catastrophic climatic changes around the world: there were crop failures and droughts from Europe to India. The reduction in the flow of the Nile caused the death of about one sixth of the Egyptian population in 1784 and one of the coldest winters ever recorded in the United States. …

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Clark, Robert. "Laki Volcanic Eruption Blights Europe". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 April 2014
[, accessed 10 October 2015.]