Skip to main content

Images From Above: Iceland's Erupting Volcano

Grimsvotn eruption, Iceland
The Grimsvotn ash plume casts a shadow to the west in this NASA satellite image. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response)

As Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano erupts for the third day, NASA Goddard released satellite images showing the ash plume from space.

In the first image, acquired on May 22 by the NASA MODIS satellite, the erupting plume casts a shadow to the west. Two additional images reveal the ash plume, which caused the closure of Iceland's largest airport yesterday.

The eruption is reminiscent of last year's Eyjafjallajokul eruption in its potential to disrupt European travel, but Grimsvotn's ash is coarser than Eyjafjallajokul's, wrote Erik Klemetti, a professor of geosciences at Denison University, in his blog, Eruptions. That could be one factor keeping the ash from disrupting travel as severely as last summer's eruption did. So far, the only flight cancellations outside of Iceland have been in Scotland, where Loganair cancelled 36 flights set for Tuesday, The Telegraph reported.

A NASA satellite captures the ash plume from the Grimsvotn volcano eruption in Iceland on May 22. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response)

Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano erupts on May 22, 2011. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response)

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.