Volcano followup: pix, video

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May 23 2011 2:07 PM

Volcano followup: pix, video

Within hours of posting about the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Grimsvötn, I found out that helicopter footage of the plume (with tons of lightning) has been posted on Vimeo by Jon Gustafsson:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies!  

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Lightning is common in volcanic plumes, but this one produced quite a bit more than usual. The footage is striking. Ha ha.

Also, NASA released a beautiful image of the plume as seen by the Earth-observing Terra satellite:

[Click to hephaestenate.]

Note the scale; the ash column is over 20 km (12 miles) across. I said in the post earlier it reached 11 km in height; however the NASA news release states that it reached over 20 km high!

There is some indication the ash may be a threat to air travel in the UK, too. That's a bummer; Eyjafjalajökull disrupted air travel for weeks. Let's hope this one subsides sooner. Video from Jon Gustafsson on Vimeo; Terra image from Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC