Mexico volcanic activity is a reminder of volcanic ash threat to flights
Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico is continuing to rumble and emit steam, gas and ashes after starting a series of small eruptions last month.
Authorities in Mexico are preparing evacuation plans and shelters in case the eruptions escalate. It is also feared that airborne volcanic ash could wreak havoc at Mexico City’s busy airport which is only 50 miles from the volcano.
If a more serious eruption does occur, it’s possible that a volcanic ash cloud could travel in the atmosphere and affect flights across a much wider area. For instance, in June 2011, volcanic ash from an eruption in the Puyehue Cordon Caulle volcano chain in southern Chile caused significant disruption to air travel around Australia and New Zealand.
The volcanic activity from Popocatepetl is not currently having an impact beyond its immediate vicinity, but it does highlight the real possibility that a volcanic eruption can occur at any time, leading to air travel disruption far away from the volcano itself.
There is also continued volcanic activity much closer to home, Mount Etna in Sicily, Europe’s most active volcano, erupted as recently as January this year. Plus there is the constant threat of further eruptions in Iceland, scientists have been monitoring unusual activity around Hekla, one of the islands largest volcanos since last summer.
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