Ash from Iceland’s erupting Eyjafjallajökull Volcano had drifted over northern Europe by April 16, 2010. The brown ash is mixed with clouds in this photo-like image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite at 12:45 p.m. local time (GMT +2). The visible ash sweeps in an arc across the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Russia. It is likely that the clouds mask additional ash.
The airborne ash grounded flights across much of northern and western Europe starting on April 15. As the ash moved south, more countries began to close their airspace. Fine volcanic ash can clog jet engines, causing the engines to stall. Many airports anticipated remaining closed through Saturday, April 17, reported BBC News. Ash had been reported over Norway, Sweden, northwestern Russia, northern Poland, northern Germany, northern France and the southern United Kingdom, said the Icelandic Met Office.
Eyjafjallajökull began its eruption on March 20, 2010, after 187 years of quiet. On April 14, the volcano began a more forceful eruption, emitting plumes of ash. As of April 16, the eruption was still ongoing, with ash reaching heights of four to five kilometers, said the Icelandic Met Office. The volcano’s previous eruption lasted just over a year between December 1821 and January 1823.
The large image is the highest resolution version of the image available. The image is available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response System, which also provides daily images of Iceland.
- BBC News. (2010, April 16). Volcanic ash: Flight chaos to continue into weekend. Accessed April 16, 2010.,/li>
- Global Volcanism Program. (n.d.) Eyjafjallajökull. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
- Icelandic Met Office. (2010, April 16). Ongoing Eruption. Accessed April 16, 2010.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
- Terra - MODIS