No Aircraft Flying over the United Kingdom

It is unprecedented, none of us can remember a day like it, for the majority of yesterday and for the most part of today there will be no aircraft flying over the United Kingdom.  Whilst we deeply sympathise with those many thousands of passengers who have been stranded and delayed because of this interruption, it is fascinating to think that one relatively minor volcanic event many thousands of miles away can cause such chaos.

The grounding of all aircraft because of the threat of volcanic ash and dust has never affected this country in this way before, as far as any of us at Everything Dinosaur can recall.  For many people and companies this ash cloud is causing huge problems as journeys are cancelled or delayed and deliveries prevented.  A volcano is essentially a landscape feature where magma (molten rock) is erupted.  The volcano causing all these air traffic problems is Mt. Eyjafjallajökull, and the eruption dramatic though it is, is relatively small when compared to other recent volcanic activity.

As the ash cloud contains minute particles of silica, any plane flying into it might incur engine damage, this has resulted in most of the airports in northern Europe being closed.

Dr Andrew Bell, from the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh, says

“In both a global and an Icelandic context, this is a relatively minor eruption, involving only small amounts of magma.”

The eruptions may continue for some time, this could lead to further delays and problems with air travel.  However, for us based in Cheshire, the only affect so far was the delay in those parcels and orders sent out by airmail.  At times we can count up to ten aircraft and aircraft vapour trails in the sky, yesterday and this morning there were none to be seen.

Not a Plane or Vapour Trail to be Seen

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This event reminds us all that we live on a volcanically active and seismically active planet, even sites a long way from tectonic plate boundaries are affected and one day a super-volcano event will occur and when that happens; delays in air travel would not be the biggest problem we would have to face.  However, one consequence of the Icelandic eruption is that when we look up at the sky we cannot see any planes or vapour trails.  It may be inappropriate to say this and we do sympathise with all those people who have been affected but for the first time in our lives we were able to gaze up at the sky and take in a view that we will probably never have the opportunity to see again.

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