This paper is an ethnographic exploration of the volcanic landscapes of Iceland, where the extraction of geothermal energy for the production of aluminum is triggering anthropogenic earthquakes. As the aluminum industry seeks to decarbonize their industrial infrastructure, they are increasingly looking to renewable energy havens, such as Iceland, to supply their expansive energy needs. While this paper is partly about understanding the forms of politics at stake in decarbonizing modernity’s infrastructures, it is more specifically concerned with the temporal politics of anthropogenic earthquakes in the Hengill volcanic zone in the south west of the country. The paper takes up the perspective of geologists tasked with analysing the emergence of these new earthquake forms, as well as locals from a small town in the vicinity who are learning to live with them. While focusing on the conflict that has ensued in the wake of earthquake production, the article pays particular attention to the importance of acceleration - both economic and geologic - in their making. This leads to an analysis of how alternate temporal renderings of anthropogenic earthquakes invoke competing claims about the future. Anticipating the future, the paper argues, is a form of temporal politics through which the various actors either legitimise, or protest against, these volcanic interventions.
|Journal||Time & Society|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Nov 2019|
- anthropogenic earthquakes