Causes of the eruption
Iceland is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean almost top to bottom. It is the boundary between the North and South American tectonic plates on one side, and the Eurasian and African plates on the other, there these two halves move away from each other.
The slow movement of the plates in opposite directions allows cracks to form in the crust where magma and gases can be extruded. That's how Iceland itself formed; it's a big pile of volcanic rock from repeated eruptions on that area. The rest of the ridge is an underwater mountain range.
The cause of Eyjafjallajokull's explosive eruption seemed to be the meeting of one body of magma, made up mostly of the common volcanic rock basalt, with another type of magma within the volcano, consisting largely of silica-rich trachyandesite.
Effects of the eruption
There was extensive air travel disruption caused by the closure of airspace over many countries affecting the travel arrangements of hundreds of thousands of people in Europe and elsewhere. Sporting, entertainment and many other events were cancelled, delayed or disrupted when individuals or teams were unable to travel to their destination. The volcano released approximately 0.15 million tonnes of CO2 each day, but the massive reduction of air travel occurring over European skies caused by the ash cloud, saved an estimated 1.3 to 2.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by 19 April 2010
- Wednesday, April 14: The Eyjafjoell volcano, situated under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in southern Iceland, starts spewing a cloud of ash, which rises to an altitude of 9,000 metres (30,000 feet) in the air. The eruption causes numerous earthquakes in the region, along with flooding. Some 800 people are evacuated.
Norway announces that it is grounding flights over the north of the country.
- Thursday, 15: The enormous cloud of ash...