oil on canvas, 100cm x 50cm, Iain White, 2013, £450
Eyjafjallajökull is one of Iceland's smaller ice caps located in the far south of the island. It covers the caldera of a volcano 1,666 metres high and its eruption in April 2010 created an ash cloud that severely disrupted air traffic in Europe and around the northern hemisphere. The local population were very lucky as the volcano is on the south coast and the wind carried the ash southeast towards Europe: away from the most inhabited areas of Iceland.
However, the people living in the rural areas ‘down wind’ of the volcano had to wear goggles and facemasks as the ash was so thick. Indeed, visibility was down to a few metres and local cattle farmers suffered. Five hundred farmers and their families (including the farm depicted here) had to be evacuated from the area around the volcano, and many of the roads surrounding the volcano where shut down. The ash contaminated local water supplies and farmers near the volcano were warned not to let their livestock drink from contaminated streams and water sources, as high concentrations of fluoride from the ash mixed with river water can have deadly effects, particularly in sheep.