. Earth Science News .

Chile volcano could get worse, as travel woes grow
by Staff Writers
Santiago (AFP) June 14, 2011

East African volcano eruption losing force: French agency
Toulouse, France (AFP) June 14, 2011 - The eruption of an Eritrean volcano lost intensity on Tuesday and the risks posed to aviation by its ash cloud diminished, the French state weather agency said.

Based on satellite imagery, Meteo France said that it was the Nabro volcano in Eritrea that was erupting and not nearby Dubbi as earlier reported.

"The ash cloud remains above Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and southern Egypt, at low altitude," said agency director Jean-Marie Carriere, adding that with ash at less than 5,000 metres it should have little impact on air transport.

Meteo France has been given the lead role in Europe in monitoring volcanic debris in the atmosphere.

The agency said that it did not expect the cloud to pass over the Arabian peninsula unless there is a significant increase in the force of the eruption, which appears to be losing strength.

The eruption sent a plume of ash up to 15 kilometres into the air, disrupting traffic in Eritrea and neighbouring Ethiopia.

German airline Lufthansa said it had cancelled two flights to the region and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cut short a visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for fears of being stuck there.

A Chilean volcano spewing dangerous ash high into the sky, sowing air travel havoc from South America to Australia for the past week, could have even more intense eruptions in the days to come, government geologists warned.

"It is possible there will be a return to increased eruptive activity" of the Puyehue volcano in southern Chile's Andes mountains, which started belching fumes on June 4, Chile's National Geological and Mines Service said late Tuesday.

It said it was detecting no let-up in the volcano's emissions, which were towering eight kilometers (five miles) into the troposhpere. It maintained its alert level at "moderate eruption."

That was bad news for airlines flying into or over Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, southern Brazil, and -- half a world away -- Australia.

Passengers in those regions have had to ditch aircraft for travel by boat or overland, or cancel plans entirely.

The chaos recalled the massive paralysis of air travel over Europe in 2010 when an Icelandic volcano erupted.

Among the millions of passengers affected was UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who on Tuesday had to take a slow boat from Argentina to Uruguay as he pursued a Latin America tour to secure support for his bid for another five-year term.

From the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, Ban was scheduled to go on to the Brazilian capital Brasilia. But a UN official speaking in New York on condition of anonymity said: "At the moment, we have no idea how he will get there."

On Monday, Ban's plane from Colombia was forced to land in the Argentine city of Cordoba, and he had to travel the 645 kilometers (400 miles) to Buenos Aires by bus on the day he celebrated his 67th birthday.

Peru's president-elect, Ollanta Humala, had to make the same sea voyage in reverse for a Tuesday meeting with Argentine President Cristina Kirchner.

Uruguay, which lies across a river from Buenos Aires, did resume some air traffic by Tuesday afternoon, although 70 flights were cancelled during the day.

Buenos Aires airports have suspended domestic and international flights for several days now, and Chile's meteorological service said prevailing winds would continue to blow the ash into Argentina through Wednesday.

With flight disruptions also in Australia, it marks the first time in 20 years that an ash cloud from an erupting South American volcano has traveled halfway across the globe, volcanologists said.

On Wednesday, Virgin Australia suspended flights into and out of Perth, in western Australia, although flights resumed to Adelaide in South Australia, with Qantas, Jetstar and Tiger all restarting services.

But Qantas again cancelled all flights to New Zealand and the southern island of Tasmania, as well as to Buenos Aires.

While Qantas has taken a conservative approach to the ash, cancelling flights, Virgin has largely chosen to fly around or under the plume with all services to New Zealand and Tasmania operating.

But it is taking no chances with Perth, saying the cloud is now lower and more dangerous.

"Virgin will suspend flights to and from Perth from 1:00 pm (0500 GMT) today," spokeswoman Melissa Thomson told Sky News, adding that around 12 services would be affected.

"The information we have received ... is that the plume is much lower. The decision to suspend services is taken with safety uppermost in our minds."

Airservices Australia said the cloud approaching Western Australia covered a band between 15,000-35,000 feet (4.5-10.5 kilometers)

Chilean seismologist Enrique Valdivieso said the eruption could run its course within a week, but it was hard to know based on precedent. The volcano's last major eruption in 1960 lasted two weeks, but an earlier one in 1921 lasted two months.

The June 4 eruption has been hardest for tourist areas near the volcano like Argentina's alpine-style resort of Bariloche, where the airport has been closed for a week, and Villa Angostura, which is 30 kilometers (18 miles) away.

The Argentine government on Tuesday declared an agricultural emergency in three southern provinces, although the agriculture ministry noted in a press release that "in no case was there ash of more than 15 centimeters (six inches)."

The eruption in 2010 of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjoell, caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, affecting more than 100,000 flights and eight million passengers.

Puyehue's eruption sent columns of debris 10,000 meters (six miles) high, blanketing the picturesque mountains and lakes along the Chile-Argentina border in a snowy white ash and prompting the evacuation of 3,500 people.

Chile's National Emergencies Office kept its alert in the red for the area around the volcano.

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Chile ash disruption spreads west in Australia
Sydney (AFP) June 15, 2011 - Travel chaos from the Chile ash cloud spread to Western Australia on Wednesday with Virgin Australia and Qantas suspending flights into and out of Perth.

But as the fallout from the eruption of the Puyehue volcano, high in the Andes, entered a fourth day, there was better news for passengers flying to and from Adelaide, with Qantas, Jetstar and Tiger resuming services.

Qantas though again cancelled all flights to New Zealand and the southern island of Tasmania, as well as the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires.

Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre forecaster Graham Weston told ABC radio that cold air from the south of Western Australia was pushing the ash towards Perth.

"It is drawing up some of that ash we do have in the Southern Ocean towards the south-west of the continent," he said.

If the cloud reaches Perth, it could then drift across to eastern or northern Australia, or head out to sea depending on winds, he added.

While Qantas has taken a conservative approach to the ash, cancelling flights, Virgin has largely chosen to fly around or under the plume with all services to New Zealand and Tasmania operating.

But it is taking no chances with Perth, saying the cloud is now lower, denser, and more dangerous.

"The volcanic ash plume is expected to drift over Perth at an altitude which will prevent aircraft from safely operating," Virgin said in a statement.

"As a result, the Virgin Australia Group of Airlines has suspended all flights into and out of Perth Airport until further notice."

Airservices Australia said the cloud approaching Western Australia covered a band between 15,000-35,000 feet (4.5-10.5 kilometres).

Qantas followed Virgin's lead.

"Qantas has cancelled all services to and from Perth from 1:00pm (0500 GMT) local time," said the airline, on a day it announced it was scaling back growth plans and cancelling aircraft orders due to slowing domestic demand.

"We will continue to monitor the movement of the ash cloud and assess its impact on flight operations as the situation develops," it added.

Most other international flights remained scheduled as normal to and from Perth, although a South African Airlines flight to Johannesburg and a Pacific Blue service to Bali were cancelled.

Sally Cutter, from Australia's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, said the lower level of the ash near Perth did pose a risk.

"Volcanic ash makes it dangerous to fly, particularly for jet engines, due to the fact it can cause the engines to stop, so it's really up to each individual airlines to assess the risk they're prepared to take," she told reporters.

The eruption of Puyehue has caused disruption to air travel on a scale not seen since the volcanic cloud over Iceland paralysed Europe in 2010.

Flights have also been suspended in Argentina and Uruguay, forcing United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to take a boat from Buenos Aires to Montevideo.

Chilean government geologists have warned of more intense eruptions from Puyehue in the days ahead.

"It is possible there will be a return to increased eruptive activity", Chile's National Geological and Mines Service said late Tuesday.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Chile volcano ash grounds Australia, N.Z. flights
Sydney (AFP) June 13, 2011
Ash from Chile's volcanic eruptions prompted Australian airlines to ground some domestic services and flights to New Zealand Sunday, stranding tens of thousands of people after plumes drifted across the Pacific. Strong winds have carried the ash clouds 9,400 kilometres (5,800 miles) across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand since Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted more than a week ago, and they a ... read more

Japan eyes $25 bn second reconstruction budget

Quake-weary Christchurch residents ponder leaving

Japan to compile second reconstruction budget

Murakami criticises Japan's nuclear policy

Malaysia seals pharmaceutical company over radiation

Three in China convicted for iPad design theft

New Sensor To Measure Structural Stresses Can Heal Itself When Broken

A flexible virtual system makes any reality possible

India not alarmed by China dam

Mini-submarines to gauge Lake Geneva pollution

Stranding records are faithful reflection of live whale and dolphin populations

Jellyfish blooms transfer food energy from fish to bacteria

Glaciations may have larger influence on biodiversity than current climate

Raytheon Completes Satellite Downlink in Antarctica for Critical Weather Systems

New map reveals giant fjords beneath East Antarctic ice sheet

Support for local community programs key to climate change response in Arctic

Controlling Starch in Sugar Factories

GM rice spreads, prompts debate in China

Early Frenchmen enjoyed home brew

Another Brazilian killed in Amazon land dispute

Volcano ash woes worsen in Australia, ease in Argentina

Chile volcano could get worse, as travel woes grow

Pakistan warns floods could affect millions

Mississippi floods expand gulf's dead zone

UN condemns North Sudan offensive

Abyei clashes 'resume' on Sudan's embattled border

Outside chaotic Luanda, Chinese workers build new city

US 'concerned' about China business practices in Africa

WHO: 1 billion disabled worldwide

Eating dirt can be good for the belly

Australia back-tracks on asylum kids

Deportees' wives adjust to life in Mexico

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement