A vast cloud of volcanic ash has been sweeping across parts of northern Europe from the eruption of a volcano in Iceland. The European Space Agency's Envisat satellite has imaged the ash cloud, showing for example the extent over the UK, more than 1,000 kilometers away.
Carried by winds high up in the atmosphere, the cloud of ash from the eruption of the volcano near the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier in southwest Iceland has led to the closure of airports throughout the UK and Scandinavia, with further disruption in northern Europe expected later.
The ash, which can be seen as the large grey streak in the image, is drifting from west to east at a height of about 11 km above the surface of Earth. It poses a serious danger to aircraft engines; hence, the airspace shut down.
The volcano erupted, for the first time since 1821, on March 20 and started erupting for a second time on Wednesday (April 14). The volcano, under the glacier ice, has caused ice melt and subsequent flooding and damage locally.
This image was acquired on 15 April 2010, at 13.25 (CEST) by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) while working in Full Resolution Mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 metres.
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