Volcano Spews Wider Travel Chaos

Worst travel disruption world has ever seen
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2010 9:40 AM CDT
Volcano Spews Wider Travel Chaos
Passengers wait for their flights at Borispol airport, near Kiev, as hundreds of commercial flights across northern and eastern Europe are canceled, Saturday, April 17, 2010.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

A lingering volcanic ash plume forced extended no-fly restrictions over much of Europe today, as Icelandic scientists warned that volcanic activity had increased and showed no sign of abating. "The activity has been quite vigorous overnight, causing the eruption column to grow," says an Icelandic geologist. "It's the magma mixing with the water that creates the explosivity. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight."

An expansive cloud of grit hovered over parts of western Europe today, triggering what aviation experts are calling the worst travel disruption the world has ever seen—flight bans stranded people around the globe, affected airports from San Francisco to New Zealand, and diverted everyone from heads of state to soldiers returning from battle. The Icelandic Coast Guard canceled its plan today to fly over the volcano to see how much ice has melted. Floods from melting waters are expected as long as the volcano keeps erupting—and in 1821, the same volcano erupted for more than a year. (More Iceland stories.)

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