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Eyjafjallajoekull Volcano, Iceland, 14-19 April 2010 (70Pix, 4vids)

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Eyjafjallajoekull Volcano, Iceland, 14-19 April 2010 (70Pix, 4vids) 

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Old 04-15-2010, 12:29 PM
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Thursday 15th April 2010

Quote:
All flights in and out of the UK and several other European countries have been suspended as ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland moves south.

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Up to 4,000 flights are being cancelled with airspace closed in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark among others.

The UK's air traffic control service (Nats) said no flights would be allowed in UK airspace until at least 0700 BST on Friday amid fears of engine damage.

Safety group Eurocontrol said the problem could persist for 48 hours.

The airspace restriction was the worst in living memory, a Nats spokesman said.

Air ambulance

Nats suggested that the restrictions were unlikely to be lifted after 0700, saying saying it was "very unlikely that the situation over England will improve in the foreseeable future".

Passengers were advised to contact their carriers prior to travel.

Experts have warned that the tiny particles of rock, glass and sand contained in the ash cloud from the still-erupting volcano could be sufficient to jam aircraft engines.

But the Health Protection Agency said the ash from the Eyjafjallajoekull eruption did not pose a significant risk to public health because of its high altitude.

These are some of the main knock-on effects:

* Eurocontrol says Germany is monitoring the situation and considering partial airspace closures
The two main airports in Paris and many others in the north of France are closing

* There is severe disruption in France and Spain, where all northbound flights are cancelled

* Nats says it will make an announcement at 2000 BST as to the arrangements that will be in place through to 1300 BST on Friday

* British Airways offers refunds or an option to rebook after all its domestic flights are suspended

* Royal Navy Sea King helicopter flies a critically ill patient from Scotland to London

* British sports teams have been hit by travel problems after flights were grounded

* Dozens of Leicestershire students were evacuated from accommodation in Iceland after the volcano eruption

One passenger at Glasgow told the BBC: "I'm meant to be going to Lanzarote. We've travelled from Oban, leaving at 3am. Now we've decided we might as well just go home and do a bit of gardening."

Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8621407.stm


Friday 16th April 2010

Air space closure update

Quote:
Flights across much of Europe will be severely disrupted well into Saturday because of drifting ash ejected from a volcano in Iceland, officials said.

Much of the airspace across northern and western Europe has been closed, and air control officials said some 17,000 flights would be cancelled on Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers in Europe and around the world have been affected.

Scientists say the volcano is still erupting but producing less ash.

COUNTRIES AFFECTED
Airspace closed:
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
Latvia
Lithuania
Netherlands
Slovakia

Partial closures:
Austria (closures from Friday pm)
France (northern airspace)
Germany (most airports closed)
Norway (limited flights in north)
Poland (most airports closed)
Republic of Ireland (most airspace opened Friday)
Sweden (northern airspace opened Friday)
UK
Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8623534.stm


Quote:
Iceland volcano: Airlines 'to lose $200m a day'

Airlines will lose at least $200m (£130m) per day in revenues as a result of the volcanic ash-linked disruption, the industry's governing body has said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said its members would also lose further money as a result of expensive contingency plans.

Meanwhile accountants KPMG said it expected UK flights alone to cost airlines in excess of £200m per day.

All UK flights in England and Wales were grounded on Friday.

Those airspace restrictions will remain in place until at least 0700 BST on Saturday, and widespread restrictions are now in place across Europe.

Conservative estimate

British Airways' website said it is cancelling all its flights to and from London airports on Saturday.

The carrier said that following the lifting of flying restrictions to Scottish air space, a small number of flights from the US originally scheduled for other UK destinations will fly into Scotland overnight.

German flag carrier Lufthansa announced that all its European flights would be cancelled until at least 1100 BST on Saturday.

And Ryanair has said none of its flights in northern Europe would operate until at least Monday afternoon.

Some restrictions in Scotland are being lifted from 1900 BST on Friday, however.

The IATA said its estimate of a $200m daily loss of revenues was "initial and conservative".

"In addition to lost revenues, airlines will incur added costs for re-routing of aircraft, care for stranded passengers and stranded aircraft at various ports," its director of corporate communications, Anthony Concil, said.

KPMG was less conservative in its estimates, predicting a £200m loss in traffic revenues as a result of the UK shutdown, assuming that all ticket sales would have to be refunded to passengers.

Shares in major European airlines fell on Friday as the volcanic ash cloud spread across Europe.
British Airways saw its share price fall by 3.3%, while Air France-KLM lost 3.4%, and Lufthansa was down 4.1%.

The falls appeared to reflect concerns among investors over the impact the stoppages could have on the airline industry.

But Douglas McNeill, a transport analyst at Charles Stanley Securities, said the financial impact would be small providing the stoppages were short-lived.

"Clearly if you aren't flying, you're not generating revenue from passengers," he told the BBC.

"For a large network carrier like BA or Lufthansa you're talking about £10m a day - but that's of limited commercial significance.

"A couple of days like this won't matter too much. If it goes on for weeks, that's a different story."

Few businesses hit

Dr Ashley Steel, Global Chair for Transport and Infrastructure at KPMG, agreed that grounding the fleet would cost an airline like BA "tens of millions of pounds", but said that the companies needed to look at how they could better cope with such events in the future.

"These unprecedented events underline again the need for mergers and global alliances in the airline industry because truly global airlines will be much better placed to deal with the financial fallout from these types of events," he said.

The effect on the wider economy, however, is not expected to be as great.

Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the impact on trade would be minimal assuming the stoppages were not prolonged.

"Some businesses will be affected by the inability for freight to get in and out of the country. But as long as the disruption is not too long, this should not be a major problem," he said.

Imports and exports by air freight represent just 1% of UK trade by weight, according to the think tank Oxford Economic Forecasting.

However, in value terms, around 30% of exports are transported by air - with the pharmaceutical industry particularly reliant on air freight, due to the high value and low weight of their products.

'Potential disruption'

No problems have been announced yet but Chris Snelling of the Freight Transport Association said problems could emerge.

"Stuff that's being air freighted is almost always needed at short notice," he said.

"The pharmaceutical industry produces goods with short shelf lives sometimes and they need to get to the doctors and hospitals very quickly. Exporting beyond Europe has become impossible."

Mr Snelling added that manufacturing industries also relied on getting spare parts to keep factories going.

"If firms suffer problems with equipment, they may find it hard to get replacement equipment at short notice. You might see factories being restricted in what they do or potentially shutting down. You could start to see a lot of disruption."

Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8624663.stm


1st Video

Quote:
The eruption of a volcano in the Eyjafjallajoekull area has produced a vast ash cloud, blocking out sunlight in the region.

The eruption under a glacier is the second in Iceland in less than a month.

A TV crew managed to drive through the ash to the east of the glacier volcano. The cloud was so dense it blotted out the sun
Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8623437.stm

2nd Video
Quote:
various video clips of of the eruptions.


Saturday 17th April 2010

BBC update feed on the volcanic cloud for Saturday 17th April : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8626765.stm

Quote:
Volcanic ash: Europe flights grounded for third day

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Virtually all of Europe's major airports remain closed as a huge plume of volcanic ash drifts south and east across the continent from Iceland.

Millions of air travellers are stranded as thousands of flights are being cancelled for a third day.

The disruption from the spread of ash would continue into Sunday, European aviation agency Eurocontrol said.

Airlines are losing some £130m ($200m) a day in an unprecedented shutdown of commercial air travel.

"Forecasts suggest that the cloud of volcanic ash will persist and that the impact will continue for at least the next 24 hours," a statement from Eurocontrol said at around 0830 GMT.

The agency, which co-ordinates air traffic control in 38 nations, said it expected 16,000 flights to be cancelled across Europe on Saturday, from a total of 22,000 on a normal Saturday.

Many countries and airlines have grounded fleets as the ash - a mixture of glass, sand and rock particles, drifting from 5,000ft (1,500m) - can seriously damage aircraft engines.

Some 18,000 of the 28,000 daily flights in the affected zone were cancelled on Friday, twice as many as the day before.

The UK extended its ban on commercial flights until at least 0700 local time (0600 GMT) on Sunday.

Many other countries, from Ireland to Russia, have also closed their airspace.

The disruption has now affected millions of travellers since Wednesday when the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano began erupting for the second time in a month.

Scientists in Iceland said they hoped to fly above the volcano to assess how much ice has melted, now that winds have cleared visibility.

A plume of ash 8.5km (5.3 miles) high was visible on Saturday.

A "significant quantity" of ash was contained in the column, said Dr David Rothery, of the UK Open University's earth sciences department, based on live images from webcams in Iceland.

"The column is pulsing in height, as fresh explosions occur in the active crater. One can see curtains of ash fallout below the plume from time to time," he said.

According to Mr Rothery, the fine ash at the top of the column is likely to be drawn into the high altitude winds, adding to the ash cloud heading southwards across the continent.

Long way home

Europe's busiest airports, including Heathrow in London, Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle in Paris, have been affected by the closures.

"There has never been anything like this," he said, adding that there were no Lufthansa planes in the air anywhere in the world.

Unable to catch flights, commuters across northern Europe have sought other means of transport, packing out trains, buses and ferries.

The Eurostar cross-channel rail service said it had never seen so many passengers on one day and the trains were fully booked until Monday.

The large no-fly zone also means that some world leaders might have difficulty attending the funeral of the Polish president on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was due to return from a visit to the US on Friday, had to fly to Lisbon where she spent the night.

With all German airports still closed, she flew on to Italy on Saturday and is set to continue her journey home by bus.

The disruption also forced the cancellation of the inaugural Iraqi Airways flight from Baghdad to London.

US pop star Whitney Houston was forced to take a car ferry from Britain to Ireland for a concert after her flight was cancelled.

The travel chaos has been felt as far away as North America and Asia, with dozens of Europe-bound flights being cancelled.

British health officials said any effects of the ash on people with existing respiratory conditions were "likely to be short term".

The last eruption of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano was on 20 March, when a 0.5km-long fissure opened up on the eastern side of the glacier at the Fimmvoerduhals Pass. The eruption prior to that started in 1821 - and continued intermittently for more than a year.

Iceland lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the highly volatile boundary between the Eurasian and North American continental plates.
Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8626505.stm

Airspace closures etc :

Quote:
Airspace closed:
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK
Partial closures:
Belarus: No flights between 7,000-11,000m (23,000-36,000 ft)
Croatia: (North-western airspace closed)
France (northern airspace, including Paris, closed until Monday)
Italy (northern airspace closed until Monday)
Lithuania (air traffic control leaving decision to fly to individual companies)
Norway (limited flights in north)
Serbia
Flights operating:
Spain, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey

Sunday 18th April 2010

BBC's live coverage of the volcano for Sunday 18th April : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8627929.stm


Quote:
Volcanic ash disruption leaves Britons stranded

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The UK is experiencing its fourth day as a virtual no-fly zone due to volcanic ash drifting from Iceland, leaving thousands of Britons stranded.

Flight restrictions have been extended until at least 0100 BST on Monday and forecasters say the ash cloud could remain over the UK for many more days.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said he wanted flights to resume as soon as possible but safety came first.

He added: "The forecast for tomorrow is not encouraging."

Planes were first grounded in the UK at midday on Thursday amid fears that particles in the ash cloud generated by the volcanic eruption could cause engines to shut down.

Lord Adonis said further test flights will take place in the UK to help understand the extent of the impact of the ash cloud.

"I wish to establish, as a matter of urgency, whether some safe flight paths can be identified and opened up to flights within the area affected by ash."

He also said "urgent discussions" were taking place between European and international agencies to ease the chaos.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned airlines would lose at least £130m per day in revenues during the disruption.

Dutch airline KLM and German airline Lufthansa have carried out test flights in their countries' airspace to see if it is safe for planes to fly.

KLM, which is inspecting test plane engines for possible damage with a view to restarting its operations, said its aircraft had been able to fly at its normal operating altitude of 13km (8 miles) over Dutch skies and no problems had been reported.

"We have found nothing unusual, neither during the flight, nor during the first inspection on the ground," said KLM chief executive Peter Hartman, who took part in his airline's test.

Meanwhile, Brian Flynn, head of operations at Eurocontrol, the organisation in charge of air safety in Europe, denied aviation authorities were being over cautious.

He said: "The accepted methodology that we have in Europe - the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation - are the guidelines that we are using, and that is that any risk of an aircraft penetrating an area that could have volcanic ash in it could have extreme safety consequences."

Mr Flynn said the "over-riding objective of protecting the travelling public" meant exceptional measures have to be taken.

Lufthansa said it flew 10 planes from Frankfurt to Munich at heights of up to 8km (5 miles). Air France is to conduct a test flight over south-western France later on Sunday.

BBC business editor Robert Peston said the disruption risked becoming a "major business and economic disaster".

He said a number of European airlines were facing financial difficulties.

Our correspondent said: "If [the disruption] goes on many days longer, a number of European airlines will run into financial difficulties and may need bailing out by governments - or so I am told by senior airline figures."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence is considering plans to fly troops wounded in Afghanistan to coalition partner countries such as Germany for treatment if UK airspace remains closed.

Under normal circumstances wounded troops would be flown home and treated at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

The disruption has affected hundreds of thousands of travellers since Wednesday, when the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano began erupting.

Cassandra Williams, who had been expecting to start her new job as a head teacher in Norfolk on Monday, is stuck in Hong Kong.

Ms Williams said: "There are lots of children meant to be taking GCSEs and A levels and they are very worried about when they might be able to fly to get home."

Karen Abbott, from Southampton, is stuck in Singapore with her husband and daughter, who has diabetes and is insulin-dependent.

She said the family's medication stock is running out.

People concerned about the safety of stranded loves ones can call a Foreign Office helpline on 020 7008 0000 or visit the website at www.fco.gov.uk.
Stranded Britons are advised to contact the nearest British embassy for help.

In other developments:

• British Airways cancelled all long and short-haul flights in and out of the UK on Monday

• TV presenter Dan Snow is using five rigid inflatable boats to help people stranded in France by carrying them from Calais to Dover throughout Sunday

• The impact is likely to exceed the airspace shutdown after the 11 September 2001 attacks, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation

• The Prince of Wales and Foreign Secretary David Miliband cancelled their journey to the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski

• P&O ferry crossings between Portsmouth and Bilbao are fully booked until Wednesday, as are those from Hull to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam over the weekend

COUNTRIES AFFECTED
Airspace closed:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK
Partial closures:
Italy (northern airspace closed until Monday)
Norway (limited flights in north)
Spain (northern airports closed)
Flights operating:
Greece, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine
Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8627545.stm

Monday 19th April 2010

BBC's live coverage of the volcano for Monday 19th April : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8629051.stm

MAJOR EU AIRPORTS 19/04
Quote:
Heathrow - closed
Frankfurt - closed after reopening on a limited basis for several hours on Sunday
Paris Charles de Gaulle - closed
Schipol, Amsterdam - closed
Rome - limited service
Madrid - limited service
From BBC's live feed

Quote:
1800 Volcanologist Dr John Murray told BBC World Service that the ash that has been causing all the problems has diminished greatly: "As the situation is at the moment I should think things should be clear by tomorrow (Tues) evening, I am not a meteorologist.... but certainly if we don't get a sudden increase in ash again then - yes - I'd imagine things will clear up pretty quickly."

Quote:
Airspace in northern UK to reopen

Airspace in Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England is due to reopen on Tuesday after days of travel chaos caused by a volcanic ash cloud.

The air traffic control body, Nats, said from 0700 BST on Tuesday airspace as far south as a line between Teesside and Blackpool would reopen.

It added that mainland Scottish airports would be open.

Nats said restrictions to airspace above the rest of England and Wales could be lifted later on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Germany, France and Belgium have also said they will begin to reopen airspace from Tuesday.

The EU said it would reduce a no-fly zone in Europe's airspace. Transport minsters said there would be a core no-fly zone, another zone open to all flights and a third "caution" zone, allowing some flights.

In a statement, Nats said: "The volcanic eruption has reduced and the volcano is not currently emitting ash to altitudes that will affect the UK.

"Assuming there are no further significant ash emissions, we are now looking at a continuously improving situation.

"This is a dynamic and changing situation and is therefore difficult to forecast beyond 0700 local.

"However, the latest Met Office advice is that the contaminated area will continue to move south with the possibility that restrictions to airspace above England and Wales, including the London area, may be lifted later tomorrow."

The next airspace announcement is due at 2100 BST.

Air travellers, due to fly into reopened airspace, are being advised to check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said all Scottish airports were currently working with airlines to understand their plans to operate flights.

Other airports, in more southerly parts of the UK, announced plans to reopen in the hope conditions would continue to improve and restrictions would be lifted.

Manchester Airport said it planned to reopen from 0900 BST on Tuesday unless conditions deteriorated.

British Airways said it would aim to resume some flights into and out of London's airports from 1900 BST on Tuesday.

In a statement, it said: "Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will aim to operate long haul departures that were scheduled to depart after 1600 BST and short haul departures scheduled to depart after 1900 BST.

"This will however be subject to the full and permanent opening of airspace. All flights before these times have been cancelled."
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, said he hoped to get flights going again "by lunchtime Wednesday" and clear the backlog "within a day or two".

Stranded holidaymakers

Planes were first grounded in the UK at midday on Thursday amid fears particles in the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano could cause engines to shut down.

About 150,000 Britons are currently stranded abroad, according to travel agents' association, Abta.

Earlier, the UK's emergency committee Cobra discussed options to address the travel chaos and it will hold another meeting at 2000 BST.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "I believe this is one of the most serious transport disruptions we have faced.

"It's got financial consequences as well as human consequences and we will do everything in our power to make sure all the arrangements are in place to help people where possible to get back home."

The UK government is deploying three Royal Navy ships to help bring stranded Britons home.

The BBC understands 500 British soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Rifles are being airlifted by chartered civilian jets from Cyprus to Spain, before sailing to the UK aboard HMS Albion.

The ship, due to arrive in the Spanish port of Santander on Tuesday morning, may also carry civilians on its return.

The Ministry of Defence said most of the soldiers were coming home from Afghanistan.

A spokesman said HMS Ocean was in southern British waters on standby and HMS Ark Royal - deployed on exercise off the north west coast of Scotland - was sailing south to provide further help as required.

The high-speed channel rail link, Eurostar, said it has carried an extra 50,000 passengers in the five days since air travel was disrupted by the ash cloud.

The Met Office has warned the unpredictable nature of the volcano's activity meant there was still cause for concern.

A spokesman said although eruptions subsided on Monday morning to between 4,000 and 5,000ft, they had actually increased during the afternoon to 10,000ft.

At its height, eruptions peaked at 30,000ft, the spokesman said.

In other developments:
  • Airline Flybe says it will start operating services from Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Newcastle airports from 1005 BST on Tuesday
  • British Airways says it has asked the European Union and the government for financial compensation for the closure of airspace
  • Eurostar says it has 30,000 standard class seats available from Tuesday to Sunday for £89 one-way and it plans to run at least 28 additional trains
  • The Europa League semi-final ties involving Liverpool and Fulham on Thursday will provisionally go ahead
  • Germany's aviation authority has granted Lufthansa permission to fly 50 planes back to Germany
  • School exam timetables could be readjusted to help pupils stranded overseas by flight cancellations, according to the Joint Council for Qualifications
  • On their return from the Easter break, many head teachers in England and Scotland had to cover for absent teachers stranded abroad, as supply agencies struggled to keep up with demand

Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8630455.stm


pix & vids compiled with assistance from Eris Kilton & psychonautical
Documenting Reality
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The Flooding

Thursday 15th April 2010
Quote:
Photos taken on April 14, 2010 the Markarfljot glacial river, west of the Eyjafjalla glacier. Iceland's second volcano eruption in less than a month melted part of a glacier and caused heavy flooding on April 14, forcing up to 800 people to evacuate and grounding some flights over Norway.


Friday 16th April 2010

Quote:
Fresh flooding has hit areas around an erupting volcano in Iceland, prompting the second evacuation of local people in 48 hours.

About 700 people were evacuated to the small town of Hvolsvollur from isolated rural homes near the volcano, which is under the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier.

Flooding has cut the coastal road from the area to the capital Reykjavik, to the north-west.

A plume of ash has spread across northern Europe from the volcano.

Icelandic media report that the eruption is continuing, but there have been no earth tremors since Thursday evening.

The level of the glacial Markarfljot river - swollen with ice and mud - has risen, threatening a bridge.

A local resident, Gina Christie, told the BBC that diggers had been used to break up the coastal road in places to let flood waters surge through and prevent the bridge from being swept away.

"The damage to farms and the main ring road is very extensive," she said.

State television told people in the area to leave their homes urgently on Thursday when it was clear that more of the glacier was breaking up.

Volcanic ash has fallen in parts of eastern Iceland and there are fears that ash could spread to Reykjavik if the wind direction changes.

Local people have been told to wear masks if the ash falls, Hannah Andrews, a dairy farmer near the volcano, told the BBC's Europe Today programme. She said she had moved her cows indoors.

According to Ms Christie, the risk is that livestock "breathe in the ash and it settles in their lungs and after a while they just cannot breathe, and die".
There are fears of an even bigger eruption if the vulcanism sets off the nearby Katla volcano, which is also covered in ice.

Gunnar Gestur Geirmundsson, a lorry driver at the capital's Keflavik airport, said US-bound jets were still leaving Iceland, but flights to the UK had been cancelled. "We are working at a reduced capacity," he told the BBC.

Air traffic has been severely disrupted across northern Europe by the volcanic ash.

Airspace has been closed or flights cancelled in countries including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and France.

Friday 16th April 2010

1st Video
ITN news report added below.





2nd Video

Amazing video of the glaciers melting and the resulting flooding
Documenting Reality
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Picture and Video Clip Stats.
File Type: mp4 153446d1271429235-eyjafjallajoekull-volcano-iceland-14-19-april-2010-31pix-4vids-ash_cloud_and_f.mp4 (2.50 MB , 924 views)
File Type: mp4 Volc_n_Islandia_14_04_2010_0.mp4 (3.39 MB , 1065 views)
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2010, 12:31 PM
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Great post, Gutts- but then, what would I expect from the master-
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:31 PM
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Beautiful photos!

I've always wanted to travel to Iceland to see the volcanos, maybe stay in an ice hotel (I think that's where it's built, anyway) and bathe in the hot Icelandic springs.
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:32 PM
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Did you say the volcano was disruptive?


Very cool photos!!!!!
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Iceland volcano: Why a cloud of ash has grounded flights

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The volcanic ash cloud reached about 55,000ft, Eurocontrol says


More than 1,000km from the event itself, Iceland's second volcanic eruption in the space of a month has caused flights in the UK to be grounded.

Scientists and aviation authorities are continuing to monitor a plume of volcanic ash that is moving southwards over the UK.

The entirety of UK airspace closed from noon on Thursday.

National Air Traffic Services said: "No flights will be permitted in UK controlled airspace other than emergency situations" until 0700 BST on Friday at the earliest.

The eruption ejected the plume, which is made up of fine rock particles, up to 11km into the atmosphere.

"This ash cloud is now drifting with the high altitude winds," said Dr David Rothery, a volcano researcher from the UK's Open University.

"The main mass is over Scandinavia, but it is also over the north of Great Britain and is likely to spread south over the whole island by the end of [Thursday]."

The plume is so high that it will neither be visible nor pose a threat to the health of humans on the ground, although Dr Rothery added that we may have a "spectacularly red sunset" on Thursday evening.

The major concern is that the ash could pose a very serious hazard to aircraft engines.

Dr Dougal Jerram, an earth scientist at the University of Durham, UK, explained: "Eruptions which are charged with gas start to froth and expand as they reach the surface.

"This results in explosive eruptions and this fine ash being sent up into the atmosphere.

"If it is ejected high enough, the ash can reach the high winds and be dispersed around the globe, for example, from Iceland to Europe. These high winds are exactly where the aeroplanes cruise."

Emergency developments

Airports operator BAA confirmed that all flights at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick would be suspended from midday.

"Air traffic restrictions have very properly been applied," said Dr Rothery. "If volcanic ash particles are ingested into a jet engine, they accumulate and clog the engines with molten glass."

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In 1982, British Airways and Singapore Airways jumbo jets lost all their engines when they flew into an ash cloud over Indonesia.

Reports said that the ash sandblasted the windscreen and clogged the engines, which only restarted when enough of the molten ash solidified and broke off.

A KLM flight had a similar experience in 1989 over Alaska.

Stewart John, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and former president of the Royal Aeronautical Society, explained that the ash can cause severe damage.

"This dust really is nasty stuff," he told BBC News. "It's extremely fine and if it gets into a jet engine, it blocks up all of the ventilation holes that bleed in cooling air.

"Jet engines operate at about 2,000C, and the metals can't take that. The engine will just shut down."

In the case of the 1982 British Airways flight, Mr John explained, when the plane emerged from the cloud, the pilot repeatedly tried and failed to restart the engines.

"They were going down and down, and had just about accepted that they would have to ditch.

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"But, at the last minute, one engine started. By repeatedly turning the engine over and having a clean airflow going through, he managed to blow the ash out."

Dr Rothery explained that as a result of those incidents, emergency procedure manuals for pilots were changed.

"Previously, when engines began to fail the standard practice had been to increase power. This just makes the ash problem worse," he said.

"Nowadays, a pilot will throttle back and lose height so as to drop below the ash cloud as soon as possible. The inrush of cold, clean air is usually enough to shatter the glass and unclog the engines.

"Even so, the forward windows may have become so badly abraded by ash that they are useless, and the plane has to land on instruments."

Mr John concluded: "We do not know how long this will last.

"It's like a typhoon - because you can't fly through it, you can't directly monitor it, so we have rely on satellite images and to err on the side of extreme caution."
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Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8621992.stm
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:37 PM
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^ Oh, that is awesome.

I love volcanoes.
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:42 PM
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So this is the reason all planes are grounded!

Great pics
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:54 PM
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Bitching posts gutts....this has to stop, I don't like complimenting mods
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:04 PM
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dont worry, i'll pretend i didnt see
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