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Uploaded on May 19, 2010
June 8, 1783. One of the most violent and important volcanic eruptions of recorded history began on this date. Laki, or Skafta, volcano in southern Iceland continued erupting for eight months, expelling an estimated 4½ cubic miles of lava, ultimately causing a famine and the deaths of nearly 10,000 persons. Acid rain reached Western Europe, and other climatic and atmospheric changes were worldwide. English naturalist Gilbert White described some of the horrible phenomena of the summer of 1783, including the peculiar haze, or smokey fog unlike anything known within the memory of man. The effects of this volcanic eruption and its possible long-term consequences are still being studied by scientists. See also: White, Gilbert: Birth Anniversary (July 18).