Iceland volcano erupts again

By Story by's Jon Auciello
May 06, 2010, 5:42:54 AM EDT

Iceland's notorious volcano is at it again.

After grounding flights in Ireland and Scotland for the past two days, a new ash plume from Eyjafjallajokull could create additional havoc for European skies. meteorologists expect the jet stream to travel due south from Iceland through this coming Saturday.

By Sunday or Monday, the jet stream will be redirected over England south toward Spain.

On Tuesday, the Icelandic Coast Guard estimated the ash plume to be as high as 20,000 feet.

Peter La Femina, Associate Professor of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University, told last month it is very difficult to predict ash dispersion levels after individual eruptions.


The uncertainty of the direction of the ash plume combined with the dangerous nature of ash itself were contributing factors to April's closure of European airspace.

"When you have a volcanic eruption, especially when it's so highly explosive, you're fragmenting the lava down to individual glass shards," explained La Femina.

The problem arises when the particulate material interacts with modern jet engines.

"The temperatures within the jets can actually melt that glass and fuse it to the turbines," he said. "It basically causes the engines to stall."

Related to the Story: 'Explosive' Katla could affect global temperature, devastate Iceland Was 'Frankenstein' written because of a volcano?

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