Iceland’s recent eruption has caused plenty of problems for Europe by sending up an ash cloud high into the atmosphere that’s disrupted air travel and caused health concerns for many.
Eyjafjallajökull, located in southern Iceland, erupted last week, and since then a plume of ash has moved over much of Europe. And the activity has not stopped. The volcano may continue to throw gas and dust into the air for days or even weeks.
This plume of ash has moved quickly over Europe thanks to the jet stream, located around 30,000 ft. The jet stream was actually discovered when the Krakatoa erupted in 1883 and weather watchers tracked its movement. These fast-moving winds quickly moved the thick cloud over much of the European continent, grounding most air travel since most planes fly at this altitude.
The effects of this eruption could be felt long after the volcano quiets down. When volcanoes erupt, they send up large amounts of Sulfur dioxide which blocks some of the Sun’s energy, and cooling the Earth on a global scale for months or even years with some of the larger volcanoes.
The last eruption of this volcano was in 1823.