Volcanic air pollution and mortality in France 1783-1784

Grattan, John; Rabartin, Roland; Self, Stephen and Thordarson, Thorvaldur (2005). Volcanic air pollution and mortality in France 1783-1784. Comptes Rendus Geoscience, 337(7) pp. 641–651.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crte.2005.01.013


The impact that volcanic eruptions may have upon environments far from the volcanic source is conventionally assumed to depend on climatic modification by emitted gases. However, recent research has suggested that the damage caused by the direct impact of volcanic gases, mainly H2SO4, may be profound. This paper highlights the severity of this mechanism by reference to human sickness and death in France and contiguous with the eruption of the Laki fissure in Iceland in 1783. This work demonstrates the gains which may be made by interdisciplinary teams of researchers and illustrates the valuable knowledge that remains to be revealed by further research in the French historical record.

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