Eyjafjallajökull Throws A Curveball

Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull is causing disruption across Europe again after another eruption, only this time the ash cloud has been grabbed by twisting air currents and aimed directly at the UK. In this dramatic picture from the Terra satellite, the path of the cloud can be clearly seen curving southward from the eruption site.

Eyjafjallajökull meets weather

As the UK headed to the polls for a general election, mother nature wanted to take a closer look and disrupted air traffic again in the process. This eruption was said to reach as high as 7 kilometers and was made worse by the lava flow stopping, which creates a more explosive venting of ash.

Iceland itself is an island that was created by volcanic eruptions over a geological rift where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Essentially situated above a hotspot in the Earth's crust, the Icelandic plume, the central rift of the island is highly active with volcanism and geothermal phenomena such as geysers. The activity is ongoing and is actually causing the growth of Iceland itself. In the 1960's a volcanic eruption off the south western coast caused the formation of an entirely new island, subsequently named Surtsey. Given this rate of expansion we can reasonably expect Iceland to take over the entire Northern hemisphere in the next few million years. Now that's what I call disruption!

Image credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team
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