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Eyjafjallajökull Update for 5/13/2010: Travel snarls ease over Europe

Activity at Eyjafjallajökull has settled down a little bit and wind patterns have helped get most of the airspace over Europe reopened. However, people are already predicting the “summer of ash”.

nAn aerial view of Eyjafjallajökull erupting on May 11, 2010, with the extent of the black ash from the eruption on Gígjökull clearly evident, along with the cracks in the glacier near the lava flow. Photo from the Icelandic Met Office, by Sigurlaug Hjaltadóttir.


Since this past weekend’s disruptions due to Eyjafjallajökull, the air over Europe has cleared and most of the airports in Spain, Portugal and Germany (along with those in Morocco) have reopened. The current ash advisory by the London VAAC looks like it will only effect transatlantic flights and Iceland itself, with the ash cloud stretching down the axis of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, things could change quickly – and that is the constant threat that travelers in and around Europe will face while the volcano is erupting. This idea has prompted the EU to considering changing its ash avoidance rules for air travel.


nWebcam capture of Eyjafjallajökull erupting on May 12, 2010, with the grey eruption plume peaking out from behind the cloud layer.


The eruption itself hasn’t changed dramatically since the explosive activity became reinvigorated over the weekend. The Icelandic Met Office reports that the ash cloud is slightly lower than in the past few days but still over 4-5 km (>13,000 feet) tall. They have posted a nice article on the ash plume with some photographs of how it changes. There were also more reports of lightning in the plume yesterday. You can see a number of timelapse videos of the volcano’s activity over here, including FLIR thermal images. I want to offer a big tip o’ the cap to everyone who has been putting together these timelapse videos – definitely helps me stay caught up on the activity at Eyjafjallajökull. Keep it up!


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