LONDON – A lingering volcanic ash plume forced extended no-fly restrictions over much of Europe on Saturday, as Icelandic scientists warned that volcanic activity had increased and showed no sign of abating — a portent of more travel chaos to come.
Scientists say that because the volcano is situated below a glacial ice cap, the magma is being cooled quickly, causing explosions and plumes of grit that can be catastrophic to plane engines if prevailing winds are right.
"The activity has been quite vigorous overnight, causing the eruption column to grow," Icelandic geologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson told The Associated Press on Saturday. "It's the magma mixing with the water that creates the explosivity. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight."
An expansive cloud of grit hovered over parts of western Europe on Saturday, triggering extended flight bans that stranded people around the globe. Continued volcanic activity could produce more plumes if the weather patterns stay the same.