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Iceland Volcano Eruption Forces Cancellation of 77% of Europe Flights, Possibly Until April 22; Fascinating images

Iceland Volcano Eruption Forces Cancellation of 77% of Europe Flights, Possibly Until April 22; Fascinating images

Courtesy of Mish  

From Dublin to Moscow air traffic in Europe grinds to a halt as Volcano May Keep Europe Airports Shut Four More Days.

Northern and central Europe may remain closed to air traffic until April 22 as winds push ash from volcanic eruptions in Iceland across the continent, forecasters said.

European airlines canceled more than 77 percent of their flights yesterday as airports from Dublin to Moscow closed. No planes will operate out of the U.K. until at least 7 p.m. London time today, the National Air Traffic Service said. German airports will remain closed until 2 p.m. Berlin time, the DFS air traffic control agency said.

“Expect ongoing interruptions for the next four or five days,” Teitur Atlason, at the Icelandic meteorological office, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “The eruption is still in full swing, and the volcano is spewing pretty dark ashes as high into the air as 5 to 6 kilometers.”

“The jet stream winds, which extend from 10,000 feet up to 40,000 feet, show no signs of change through Wednesday,” Accuweather.com Inc. said in a statement. “Any ash plume that is released from the volcano will continue to threaten northern Europe and the British isles.”

Flights have been halted because of concerns that the ash plume could damage engines and speed sensors. The finest material from the blast is formed of dust akin to glass, which can melt and congeal in a turbine, causing it to stop, said Sue Loughlin, head of vulcanology at the British Geological Survey.

Volcanic eruptions may continue for months and curtail European air traffic, said Sigrun Hreinsdottir, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. “It could erupt, pause for a few weeks, and then possibly erupt again,” he said.

The last eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in December 1821 continued until January 1823. The current blast has sent ash to as high as 7 kilometers (4.5 miles), according to Gudrun Larsen, a vulcanologist at the University of Iceland. The magma had to pierce 200 meters of ice before reaching the air, she said.

“The problem here is we have magma interacting with glacier ice, and that leads to explosions,” Hreinsdottir said. “That causes the material to go much higher in the air.”

Volcano Images

Image courtesy of Stefan at Virtual Tourist

Icelandic volcano eruption intensifies

The eruption under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier continued to spew large amounts of ash and smoke into the air and showed no signs of abating after 40 hours of activity, said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland.

"The seismographs are showing that since this morning the intensity of the eruption seems to be growing," he said.

Hot fumes had melted up to a third of the glacial ice covering the crater, causing a nearby river to burst its banks, and frequent explosions on the floor of the crater sounded like bombs going off, he said.

Huffington Post

Risk of Katla: Could 2nd Icelandic Volcano Eruption Follow?

The eruptions of the comparatively small Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano in Iceland have historically preceded massive eruptions by the more feared Mount Katla. Experts are concerned that the present volcanic eruption could trigger activity at Mount Katla, which is potentially much more dangerous. Its last major eruption was in 1918. Icelandic volcanologists consider it plausible that Katla may erupt, and that is why they are monitoring Katla very closely right now. There are eruption channels between Eyjafjallajökull and Katla and magma could shoot into the Katla volcano. Katla might only need a nudge. Effects of Katla’s eruption would put the present air travel chaos in the shade, inflicting much greater economic losses upon Europe.

Lightning caused by electrical discharge within volcanic ash column, Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland


National Geographic

Iceland Volcano: Lava Explodes From Ice Cap

Mike "Mish" Shedlock 


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