Volcanic Ash Stops Europe Flights—Why Ash Is Dangerous

Volcanic ash poses double threat to airline engines.
Volcanic ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallaj ökull volcano, pictured Wednesday, resulted in canceled flights in Europe today.

Airline flights to, from, and within northern Europe have been cancelled today because of fears that a vast cloud of volcanic ash spreading from an Iceland volcano could bring down passenger planes (map of northern Europe).

British airports are completely closed to civilian aircraft following latest eruptions from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. (Pictures: Iceland Volcano Erupts, Under Ice This Time.)

Thousands of flights have likewise been cancelled to and from Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark as affected countries close airspace in response to the volcanic cloud, which is currently drifting at altitudes of 25,000 to 30,000 feet (7,620 to 9,140 meters).

(See aerial pictures of the Iceland volcano's earlier eruption.)

Infrared Video: Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Spews Ash, April 14

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