News of the WeekVOLCANOLOGY

Iceland Eruptions Fuel Interest in Volcanic Gas Monitoring

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Science  23 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5977, pp. 410-411
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5977.410

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Icelandic researchers and civil protection officials are continually analyzing several streams of data to make educated guesses about the duration and size of the eruption on Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that on Wednesday, 14 April, turned from a modest tourist attraction into a nightmare for airlines and passengers across Europe. Everyone wants to know if the volcano's ash cloud, harmful to jet engines, is going away or will remain a threat. At a briefing here called on 19 April to share the latest observations, University of Iceland geophysicist Páll Einarsson summed up the frustrating conclusion: Despite all the data, "we are still looking for an answer."

  • * Lucas Laursen is a freelance writer based in Madrid.