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14 May 2014

Volcanic ash creates sticky situations for jet engines

WASHINGTON, DC — Thousands of airplane passengers were stranded in airports across Europe in 2010 when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano spewed billions of cubic feet of volcanic ash into the sky. The large cloud of ash – enough to fill at least two football stadiums – threatened to clog jet engines and cause airline accidents.

But it is not just large volumes of volcanic ash that can cause problems for jet engines. Volcanic ash can melt when it gets inside the hot engine and even small amounts of the melted ash can do harm by coating the interior of turbines, interacting with protective coatings, or sticking to parts that cool the engine.


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12 May 2010

Even quiet volcanoes need watching

The logistical nightmare that the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokul caused recently in Europe—thousands of travelers stranded for days as airlines lost well over $1 billion—dramatically reminded the world that volcanic hazards remain a global reality, one that might need more attention than it has been getting, according to some experts. For volcano hazards specialist Tom Murray, the surprise turmoil brought to mind a much harsher volcano story—the more than 20,000 deaths …


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16 April 2010

“Although we’re pretty good at saying when an eruption will start, we’re not so good at saying when it’s going to end”

Here’s one curious consequence of Iceland’s volcanic ash clouds grounding airplanes across Europe: Scientists attending a volcanology meeting in Paris are temporarily stuck there. That’s where the AGU Geohazards blog reached John Eichelberger, Volcano Hazards Program Coordinator at the U.S. Geological Survey (and an AGU member), who responded to our questions (see below) about how volcanologists and weather services work together to forecast volcanic activity and the spread of ash …


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