Eruptions this week of a volcano that sits beneath a glacier in Iceland forced the evacuation of local residents who were in the path of the meltwater run-off from the glacier as surface melting occurred in response to the energy and temperature underground. As reported by guardian.uk.co, the floods arrived shortly after the initial eruptions, and the plume of ash blotted out the sky.
Carried by winds, the ash wreaked havoc this week for international airports. British airports were completely shut down, and thousands of flights were canceled due to volcanic matter in the air.
Ash in the air isn't wholly a visibility issue, however, for the air transportation industry. Instead, the risk becomes one of mechanics. Ash that is sucked into an aircraft could cause engine damage or electrical problems.
CNN's coverage of air transportation delays caused by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull includes sideline highlights of several historical air emergencies caused by ash.
The following science projects help contextualize volcanic activity and offer ways to relate eruptions to other geo-sciences.
- Ring of Fire 1: What Volcanoes Tell Us About Plate Tectonics: analyze historical volcanic activity data to see how volcano eruptions correlate with plate tectonics.
- Race Your Marbles to Discover a Liquid's Viscosity: hands-on exploration of viscosity gives clues to interpreting volcanic formations.
- Volcanoes*: open-ended exploration of volcano-related science.