Northern Europe grounded by Icelandic volcanic ash cloud - it could take weeks to clear!

Volcanism of Iceland: Volcano, History of Iceland, Iceland, Mid- Atlantic Ridge, Submarine Volcano, List of Volcanoes in Iceland 
Air traffic across the UK, Ireland, Belgium and the Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark and Sweden) was on closed on Thursday 15th of April 2010, due to an extensive ash cloud originating from an active Volcano in Iceland. 

This unprecedented natural phenomenon has grounded planes on a scale which has never been experienced since the second World War, not even for the 2001 terror attacks in the UK made such an impact to flight travel. Literally thousands of flights were canceled, subsequently causing around 300,000 air passengers in the UK alone to be stranded. 

At the time of writing (early Friday morning 16th April 2010) the authorities controlling the airspace in Britain said it was not clear when it would be safe enough to fly again.The earliest possible time given to resume flying is 13:00hrs on Friday 16th of April 2010. However, sobering input from one scientist in Iceland indicated that the ejection of volcanic ash will cause possible disruptions in air travel that could continue for days or even weeks before it fully disperses.

Volcanic ash poses a significant threat to aircraft as it could impact on visibility. Moreover,  particles of debris could get sucked into the engines of planes, causing them to jam.

We should remember the Galunggung volcanic event back in 1982, whereby a British Airways Boeing 747 flew through an ash cloud that actually stopped all 4 engines. The plane physically descended from 36,000 feet (11,000m) to 12,000 feet (3,700m) before the crew could manage to restart the engines. 
At a time when tensions are extremely high between the British and Icelandic Governments respectively over unpaid financial commitments, this wholly natural event occurring in Iceland and badly affecting the UK, appears to be incredibly ironic! Listening to TV interviews, featuring members of the general public, it was somewhat shocking to hear people say "first they stole our money and now they cause us to lose money". Certainly there are dark clouds all around Iceland these days in more ways than one!