I am going to break tradition and tell an interesting anecdote about my return trip. I always choose an aisle seat, particularly in long trans-Atlantic flights, because it gives me the chance to get up and stretch my legs without having to wake up my seat neighbors. Of course this comes at the expense of not being able to look out the window (but honestly, when you are up at 35,000 ft all you can see is clouds or the interminable ocean), although I have been known to crane my neck to get a glimpse of some interesting feature.
Speaking of seat neighbors, mine were a couple that politely introduced themselves and made some small talk (I usually discourage small talk, but these folks were low key and nice). As part of the conversation it came out that I was a geologist, which always triggers some memory of “ black rock I had as a kid, and do you think it could have been a meteorite?”. I always say yes, and that makes everyone happy.
After a while I settled into movie mode, only now and then glancing at the map that shows the path of the airplane. This time we were crossing the Atlantic pretty far north of
and were heading for northern Greenland, and from there we were going to go
over Canada to reach the US. I had just
made a mental note that we were over the North Atlantic,
when my neighbor pointed out of the window and said “Look, a volcano”. What? I
immediately became alert and, lo and behold, almost under us was a tiny island
with a short, stubby volcano rising from its eastern end. The mountain was
covered in ice, but had the unmistakable shape of a volcano. I doubled check
with the map and we were a good 500 km from the northern tip of Iceland. How
come nobody had mentioned this mid-Atlantic Ridge volcano to me? I wracked my
brain going over what I knew Arctic geography and finally, Eureka!, I got it. This must be the , and the volcano must
Beerenberg, which erupted in 1970 and in 1985. Well, what an unexpected treat J island of Jan Mayen