Chaos is reigning across Western Europe today, with hundreds of flights cancelled due to volcanic ash sweeping across the continent. The pulverised rock and glass from the Icelandic Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano can harm the electrical systems of aeroplanes, apparently.
The Eyjafjallajokull volcano is located in a glacier, making for some very impressive photos, as Flickr’s homepage is illustrating today. Last month was the first eruption in 200 years for the volcano, but this past Tuesday saw a second eruption from underneath a 200m thick piece of glacier – literally fire and ice. As the lava melted the glacier, the ice turned to water, resulting in rivers surrounding the area to rise by 3m and running the risk of flooding the nearby village, which had been evacuated by then.
The volcanic ash, while not visible from the ground, can not only prove difficulties for visibility when flying, but can also get into the engine and electrical system of planes. [Telegraph]
UPDATE: The Guardian has a nice explanation on what happens when volcanic ash gets in plane engines.
UPDATE: Check out this image from Flickr user *ice, who managed to photograph the volcanic activity AND Northern lights in one shot. Breathtaking.