As you may or may not know, a volcanic eruption started in late August in the Icelandic highlands. Actually it was on my son’s 6th birthday August 31st. It’s been ongoing ever since and you can actually see it live on webcam here. It hasn’t interrupted our lives at all, since its quite far away, about 110km south from my town Akureyri far away from anything called civilization. Quite fortunate that!
But then it started.
A a few weeks ago we started noticing SO2 pollution from the Volcano. It spews up 20-60 thousand tons of SO2 (Sulfur Dioxade) on a daily basis, compared to the 14K tons emitted by the whole EU daily on total. So with the calm frosty weathers (this time of year we’re dancing around the 0°c degrees) the gas distribution forecast has been even more important than weather forecast. If gas pollution is harsh people are advised to stay indoors, kids wont go out during breaks at school and babies are not put out in strollers while napping and walking outside is ofcourse not advised. It is sometimes viewable as a blue haze but at other times its only sensed as a burning sensation in eyes and throat. My sister shot this video outside her home in the south-east:
On Thursday last week the Civil protection agency sent out 40 thousand SMS messages to people in my area to warn us to stay indoors, turn up the heat (which supposedly increases air pressure and inhibits gas from entering the apartment) and turn off any air conditioning equipment. Its kind of funny to get an SMS being asked to turn up the heat when it’s -5°c outside, like its not on full blast already! 🙂
The gas dispersion can be seen at the Iceland Meteor office website and it looks like we’ll get our share again on Thursday.
In that way the Volcano has had an impact of our lives in a sense that I have a great desire for the cold strong winds straight from the North Pole, to get some fresh air for my youngsters. I’d rather take on the freezing winds than more of this sneaky unhealthy pollution. But with the ongoing earthquakes in the glacier volcano close to the eruption, around 60-100 per day, this situation is likely to continue at least for the next weeks.
Image copyright: Axel Sig
At work we often get really interesting projects, or at least projects we like solving in an interesting way. After we had been operating for about a year we were asked to create the identity for our town’s 150 year anniversary. It was a 10 day celebration with various cultural events, from events made by kids at the kindergarten to art exhibitions and outdoor rock concerts. To find something which everyone can relate to was a really exciting idea at first and then incredibly difficult at second and third thought. We dug into the identity and image of our town; its located at the bottom of the fjord, with mountains on both sides and extends into a agriculture rich valley. There are also two islands who belong to our town, one of which the arctic circle goes through. A river runs through the town and each side has their own football club and a landmark church.
We consider our town to be a friendly, nordic/scandinavian (strong danish influence both in architecture and culture) small town. Its the second most populated area after the Reykjavik/capital area and it takes at least 4 hrs to drive there. So its rather remote culturally and shopping here can be a drag. So remote that people in Reykjavik say we have our own accent! But we think that in general people are very proud of their town and never hide where they’re from when asked. So for the inhabitants, this little town is the “Navel of the Universe”!
So from there the idea came, for celebrating the 150 years we made a poster which shows most major landmarks of the town as if its just one globe. We have the old town, the theatre, churches, culture house, shopping centre, ski area and the puffin on the rock represents the islands that belong to the municipality.
The poster that I illustrated for our town’s 150 year anniversary. The plane is writing ‘Navel of the Universe’ in the sky
The advertisements were run in all print mediums as well as on TV, they had to include more text than could fit within the poster so we adjusted the illustration for the advertisements.
We received really great comments on the whole project, people saying it really captured the spirit of the town in an appealing and interesting way. That was the whole idea 🙂