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Volcanic Ash Clouds Turn Northern Europe into a No Fly Zone - First Time in History!

Updated on August 13, 2011
Volcanic Ash Clouds
Volcanic Ash Clouds

For the first time in history Northern Europe is turned into a no fly zone due to ash clouds from a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Hundreds of flights are restricted in UK and most parts of Europe, with America to Europe flights also affected. On the 16th April only 11,000 fligths will operate rather than the usual 28,000 flights. The plume of ash reached up to 6 to 11 kilometres.

This has never happened before in the history of flying in Europe and has affected many thousands of people flying out or into Northern Europe. Many people have been left stranded in airports and hotels waiting for the all clear for flights to resume once again.

Many countries have been affected by volcanic ash from the volcano eruption in Iceland. Somof these are:

Denmark, UK, Northern Ireland, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and many more.

This event has been the biggest disturbance to air travel in Europe since the 9/11 attacks in USA.

What is Volcanic Ash and How Does it Affect Aeroplanes

The Icelandic volcano erupted below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier on Wednesday 14th April 2010 for the second time in a month, causing nearly all of the Northern European countries to cancel all flights due to the ash spreading over many countries, and making them a no fly zone.

Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverised rock which is created by eruptions which are less than 2 millimetres in diameter. Violent eruptions involving steam from a volcano results in the magam and solid rock surrounding the vent being torn into particles of clay to sand size. Volcanic ash can lead to serious breathing problems and damage and malfunctions to machinery. The small particles in a cloud of ash can spread up to miles and miles for as long as the wind carries them, settling out as a dust-like layer accross the landscape, which is also known as 'ashfall'.

When aeroplanes fly through volcanic ash debris, the damage is done to the engines and gradually stops it from working as large amounts of air with the particles of ash is sucked in. If the eruption is from under ice, glass-rich volcanic ash particles sucked into a jet engine melt at about 1,100 degrees celcius, which then fuse onto blades and other parts of the turbine, which melt at about 1,400 degrees celcius. Parts of the plane can erode, destroy parts and cause jams in rotating machinery. Volcanic ash can also smother the plane windscreen and blind pilots.

Long Term Issues

The volcanic eruptions could lose air travel companies millions of pounds daily with share prices reducing due to fligths being held up and cancellations.

If eruptions continue, volcanic ash could affect air flight for the next six months from April 2010 onwards. Even if it short lived, the financial impact on airlines could be signifant.

The International Air Transport Association said only days ago that airlines were just coming out of recession.


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    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 7 years ago from Muslim Nation

      @ Dohn121

      Nice to see (or read!) you back!!!

      Hope you are good, my family is fine, hope yours is good too mate!

      I was surprised at the news about the ash clouds making Europe into a 'no fly zone' for the first time in history, and the more i looked inot it, the more i learned, and thought that the info people are hearing in the news can be simplified to undesratnd easier. A friend of mine was stuck in Heathrow for 4 days, another friend couldn't fly itno the country. I'm sure people know many people who are/were in this unfortunate situation.

      Anyway, it'll soon be all over.

      Good to hear from you again, no worries about the shout out, because you truly deserve it!

      Keep up the fantastic work you are doing!

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 7 years ago from Muslim Nation

      @ Billyaustindillon

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yeah, thank God for trains and ferries. With people being left stranded in airports all over the world, let's hope people enjoy their holidays they deserve after all this chaos is over.

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 7 years ago from Muslim Nation

      @ BeBrown

      Thanks for your comment. There will always be occurences and conditions which man will not be able to deal with, and i think this is one of them. It is very unfortunate for business that deal internationally, like yours, to lose such high amounts of business. I hope things get back in order soon.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      This is the first article I read on this occurrence, GMiah. I read a couple of the headlines but didn't really delve into all the details until now, so boy am I glad I did, as you did such a thorough job on covering this news. Thank you!

      And thanks for the "shout out" my friend ;) Much appreciated! I hope you and yours are well!


    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Amazing photos from Nasa - thank God they have trains and ferries! This could go on for a long time.

    • BeBrown profile image

      BeBrown 7 years ago

      Thanks for the hub - my workplace is in chaos because of this. We fly all over the world on a daily basis and we could lose $500,00 because of this.

    • G Miah profile image

      Gous Ahmed 7 years ago from Muslim Nation

      Yep, it's happening. A friend of mine has been at Heathrow Airport since Wednesday with no signs of flights resuming.

      Should be over soon.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Wow, thanks for sharing this info, I had no idea this was going on. An excellent hub, and those clouds are so dark and animus. Thumbs up...