Last year, on of the biggest items in travel news was the eruption of the EyjafjallajÃ¶kull volcano. The clouds of volcanic ash and dust cause huge chunk of European air space to be close for weeks. Some cruise ships even picked up British travelers who were stranded in mainland Europe by the resulting flight cancellations. The event was even the subject of one of the questions in the state finals of the National Geographic Bee for elementary and middle school students.
Here are a few statistics on the GrÃmsvÃ¶tn volcano eruptions. “On 21 May 2011 at 19:25 UTC, an eruption began, with 12 km (7.5 mi) high plumes accompanied by multiple earthquakes.The ash cloud from the eruption rose to 20km/12 miles, and is so far 10 times larger than the 2004 eruption, and the strongest in GrÃmsvÃ¶tn for 100 years. During 22 May the ash plume fell to around 10 km altitude, rising occasionally to 15 km.”
Currently the only air space and airports in Iceland have closed due to the ash plumes. Authorities in Britain and Greenland are monitoring the ash plume to see if further closures will be warranted. If you are planning a cruise out of Europe this summer, it might be a good idea to have a contingent plan should the volcano massively disrupt travel. Check with your travel insurance provider to see what your coverage would be if the Volcano disrupts travel.