Today, British civil aviation authorities ordered the country’s airspace closed as of noon, due to a cloud of ash drifting from the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, according to Boston’s BigPicture.
The volcano has erupted for the second time in less than a month (on 20 March and 14 April), melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air. Up to 800 people were evacuated in Iceland early on April 14, 2010 due to a volcano eruption under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in the south of the island, police and geophysicists said. The volcanic ash has forced the cancellation of many flights and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe.
Eyjafjallajökull (translated as “Eyja-fjalla glacier” or “island-fells glacier”) is one of the smaller glaciers of Iceland, situated to the north of Skógar and to the west of Mýrdalsjökull. The icecap of the glacier covers a volcano with a summit elevation of 1,666 metres (5,466 ft). The volcano has erupted relatively frequently since the last glacial period.
The glacier covers an area of about 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi). The south end of the mountain was once part of the island’s Atlantic coastline, but the sea has since retreated some 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), with the former coastline now forming sheer cliffs with a multitude of beautiful waterfalls, of which the best known is Skógafoss. In strong winds, the water of the smaller falls can even be blown up the mountain.
The volcano, which has a crater 3–4 kilometres (1.9–2.5 mi) in diameter, erupted in 920, 1612 and again from 1821 to 1823 when it caused a glacial lake outburst flood. It erupted twice in 2010 — on 20 March and 14 April. The March event forced a brief evacuation of around 500 local people, but the April eruption was ten to twenty times more powerful and caused massive disruption to air traffic across Northern Europe. Check out more photosat the Boston’s Big Picture. [via Wiki and Boston; photos via Boston’s Big Picture]