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Ash and Lightning Above an Icelandic Volcano

Why did the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland create so much ash? Although
the large ash plume was not unparalleled in its abundance, its location was
particularly noticeable because it drifted across such well populated areas. The
Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland began erupting on March 20, 2010
with a second eruption starting under the center of small glacier on April 14.
Neither eruption was unusually powerful. The second eruption, however,
melted a large amount of glacial ice which then cooled and fragmented lava
into gritty glass particles that were carried up with the rising volcanic plume.
Pictured above two days ago, lightning bolts illuminate ash pouring out of the
Eyjafjallajökull volcano.