Icelandic Ash Nears UK Airspace
Nervous officials monitoring cranky volcano
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted May 23, 2011 1:40 AM CDT
Smoke shoots up from the Grimsvotn volcano, which lies under the Vatnajokull glacier, about 120 miles east of the Icelandic capital Rejkjavik.   (AP Photo, Jon Gustafsson)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Volcanic ash from a spewing Icelandic volcano is drifting toward UK airspace, threatening a possible repeat of last year's travel debacle. Iceland grounded all flights at its main Keflavik airport yesterday after the Grimsvotn volcano shot steam and ash 12 miles into the air. The ash is expected to be over Scotland tomorrow, but may dissipate before it moves farther south. Officials, however, remain concerned. "At the moment if the volcano continues to erupt to the same level it has been, and is now, the UK could be at risk of seeing volcanic ash later this week," a civil official told the Guardian. Exactly "when and how much we can't really define at the moment."

Experts are hopeful the current problem won't be as severe as the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull last April that severely disrupted air travel in much of Europe for several days. While there's currently no impact on European or transatlantic travel, "aircraft operators are constantly being kept informed of the evolving situation," said a statement from the Europe-wide air traffic control network, Eurocontrol