Airspace in the U.K and several other northern European countries was closed as the volcanic ash—deemed a serious hazard to aircraft engines—drifted westward at heights of between 25,000 and 30,000 feet (about 7,600 to 9,100 meters). (Get more details about the unprecedented shutdown on the NatGeo News Watch blog.)
When the volcano first erupted after a 200-year respite, on March 20, (see pictures of the Iceland volcano's initial eruption ) it spewed mainly fire and lava. But the latest eruption spurted out a cloud of steam, smoke, and ash up to 7 miles (11 kilometers) high.
Photograph by Brynjar Gaudi, AP
Iceland Volcano Slope
Slopes of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano are seen from the air in a photo taken Wednesday by the Icelandic Coast Guard. (Video: Volcano 101.)
About one-fifth of the 650-foot-thick (200-meter-thick) ice block atop Eyjafjallajökull volcano's new vent is thought to have already melted (pictured, floods seen on Thursday), with further flooding expected, according to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper.
Most of the roughly 800 people evacuated from the inundated regions this week are farmers whose land has been largely destroyed, the newspaper reported.