Spectacular Footage, Satellite Images of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland

Article written: 15 Apr , 2010
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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A volcano under a glacier in Iceland erupted Wednesday, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air and forcing hundreds of people to leave their homes. The resulting ash plume has also halted air traffic over much of Europe. Scientists said the eruption under the ice cap was 10 to 20 times more powerful than an eruption from the that happened from the Eyjafjallajokullin Volcano late last month. “This is a very much more violent eruption because it’s interacting with ice and water,” said Andy Russell, an expert in glacial flooding at the University of Newcastle in northern England, in an article on the CBC website. The dramatic footage in the video here was released today, April 15, and satellite images, below, show how far the ash plume has traveled.

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The iceland volcano sent a plume of ash and steam across the North Atlantic prompting airspace closures in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and Scandinavia, which then had a ripple effect, disrupting flights to and from other countries as well. Authorities could not say how long the airspace closure would last, and the ash’s spread threatened to force closures of additional airspace over the coming days.

NASA's EO-1 Satellite took this image on April 1, 2010. NASA image by Robert Simmon, using ALI data from the EO-1 team

This natural-color satellite image shows the area of the eruption on April 1, when a new vent opened up. The image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

The volcano, about 120 kilometres east of Reykjavik, erupted March 20 after almost 200 years of silence.

Watch an animation from ESA of how the plume traveled.

Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, said magma was melting a hole in the thick ice covering the volcano’s crater, sending water coursing down the glacier, and causing widespread flooding.

Iceland’s main coastal ring road was closed near the volcano, and workers smashed a hole in the highway in a bid to give the rushing water a clear route to the coast and prevent a major bridge from being swept away.

Sources: CBC, NASA Earth Observatory, ESA

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9 Responses

  1. Restoration says

    Why is everyone making a big deal about this? Oh wow a few changes for less than a month and then everything is back to normal.

    Is it really worth worrying about?

  2. Trippy says

    @Restoration.

    The concern is that the eruption at Eyjafjallajokull Volcano could trigger an eruption at a neighbouring volcanoe – Katla, which will be substantialy larger, and release significant amounts of flood water, because historicaly that is what happens, when Eyjafjallajokull goes up, Katla follows soon after (if you’re wondering about causal mechanisms presumably it has something to do with the weight of the ice on top of Katla).

  3. Olaf says

    The big deal is that air traffic is halted in europe right now for probably 48 hours. The ash is coming this way.

  4. Astrofiend says

    Restoration Says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Well, last time this particular volcano erupted, it did so continuously for over a year. Planes cannot fly when volcanoes are erupting nearby – there is a very famous case of a jumbo losing all four engines as it flew through a plume of ash – many hundreds of km from the volcano itself. And it was only a littlun’.

    If planes are grounded for 48 hours, then that is a massive inconvenience. If planes are grounded for months, then entire economies can go down the tube. Of course, it is unlikely that this volcano will be going off for more than a few days to a week, but who knows?

    Plus, it is just downright awesome. No reason to worry, just plenty of reasons to be interested…

  5. Olaf says

    It is the wind direction that is now blowing in the wrong way that is the problem. I see clouds outside, but I do not see much difference with normal clouds.

  6. Feenixx says

    The BIG deal is MASSIVE disruptions of travel and all kinds of business.

    I live in Ireland, I’m planning to go on a vacation on Thursday, there’s been increased activity this morning, still building up… and the Airline just told me to be prepared for not being able to travel until perhaps on Saturday… AND some scientist are ssaying that nearby Katla, which is larger, may also erupt…

    ah, well, thanks be to Goodness, I actually live in a popular location for a vacation……. and it’ll be quiet – with no foreign tourists 😉

  7. rudeyd says

    This is very close to being a HUGE deal. If it continues it could effect the growing seasons for 3 to 5 years like it did in the late 1700’s. Never mind the global flight economy…..
    People forget how serious and unpredictable volcanoes really are. The only good thing about Icelandic Volcanoes is they “USUALLY” are not ones that explode like the southwestern Pacific ones are.

    A couple weeks of this could really screw things up.

  8. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    … and there goes astronomical observations from ground based telescopes in the northern hemisphere. With all that ash and dust up there, the transparency conditions will be hopeless for years!

  9. Olaf says

    It is strange to see no con trails of airplanes when I go out.

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