Holuhraun pollution in Paris

Holuhraun Björn Rúriksson

Pollution from the Holuhraun eruption travelled as far as Paris this week. Paris mayor Anna Hidalgo petitioned the French government to limit traffic in the city, citing among other things an increase in air pollution because of the eruption. 

The government decided not to limit traffic in Paris, despite the petition. Bruno Julliard, the mayor's right hand man, said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro that dust from "the Icelandic volcano Bárðarbunga" had reached Paris earlier this week, causing an increase in pollution.

This would not be the first time pollution from an Icelandic volcano reaches continental Europe. When Lakagígar (Craters of Laki) last erupted in 1783, an estimated 120 million long tons of sulfur dioxide was emitted, three times more than the total annual European industrial output in 2006. That caused a thick haze to spread over Western Europe.

The cloud was so thick that ships in Great Britain stayed in port, and the sun was said to be "blood coloured". Crops were destroyed and cattle died as a result of extreme weather conditions caused by the cloud, with some historians speculating that the eruption in Laki was a contributing factor in causing the French to rebel in 1789.


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