Friday, 24 June 2011

Geography Picture of the Day - Chilean volcanic ash cloud

The ash cloud from the Chilean volcano has looped around the world and is disrupting Australian airlines for a second time. The Puyehue volcano, in southern Chile, first started erupting on the 5th June and by the 11th June the resulting ash cloud compeleted its first ciruit around the world, provoking flight cancelations  in South America and and Australia. It is estimated that some 120,000 passengers had their flights cancelled in Australia due to the ash cloud. However, some flights were able to go ahead as some planes were able to fly just below the ash cloud. Since then, the ash cloud has become wrapped around a low-pressure system, whilst it loops around the world once again, thereby pushing it about 2100 metres lower than it previously was. Therefore the base of the ash cloud lies at around 6000 metres, making it too low to safely fly under.

Although officals say that the volcanic activity has decreased slightly, it is predicted that it will continue to spew ash for some time yet.
After the Icelandic volcano practically paralysed Europe last year and the impact that the Chilean volcano is currently happening, is it possibly time to re-evaluate the transportation methods used to travel around the globe?

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