"What if [the Eyjafjallajokull ash cloud] is in fact not just a minor volcanic hiccup, but the beginning of an event that causes in time a mass extinction of some form of earthbound life?" asks Simon Winchester. "And further, since we know from the history books that the massive eruption of Santorini once had the power to destroy one proud part of human society, what if the extinction we might be beginning to see turns out to be what will one day surely occur, and that is the extinction of us?"