News / Americas

Chilean Volcanic Ash Causes Flight Disruptions in Australia

A man walks on a field covered with ash in the mountain resort of San Martin de Los Andes in Argentina's Patagonia. The volcano in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain in Chile has been erupting for the past week, throwing air travel in South America into chao
A man walks on a field covered with ash in the mountain resort of San Martin de Los Andes in Argentina's Patagonia. The volcano in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain in Chile has been erupting for the past week, throwing air travel in South America into chao

A volcanic ash cloud from Chile has left thousands of travelers stranded for a second day in Australia and New Zealand.  Strong winds have carried the ash more than half way around the world since Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted more than a week ago.  

The cloud of volcanic ash has been blown 10,000 kilometers across the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and has drifted over parts of southern Australia and New Zealand causing travel chaos for thousands of travelers.

The main concentration passed over New Zealand yesterday and into the Pacific Ocean, but there are still small parts of the cloud which have broken off and that’s affecting airlines in Australia,” noted Gordon Jackson. He is a meteorologist with the Volcanic Ash Center in Darwin.

Scores of flights have been canceled over the past two days.  Services between New Zealand and Australia have been disrupted, along with many domestic routes in both countries.

Australia's national airline Qantas said all flights in and out of the southern island of Tasmania, and those to New Zealand were grounded Monday.

Other carriers have, however, decided to resume flights.  Virgin Australia said it believed it was safe to fly to Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand, adding its planes would fly around or under the ash.

Air New Zealand has kept its passengers services in the air by rerouting flights and flying at lower altitudes “to completely avoid the ash”.  The airline said it was monitoring developments closely.

Professor Richard Arculus, a professor of geology at the Australian National University, believes the ash cloud will soon be blown back towards South America.

“You can see the ash coming. It has come all the way around the Atlantic and across the Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean and is almost going to do a loop on itself. It is heading back towards South America. So it will take a few days for that to disperse. The question of course for travelers is - what is the density of particles per cubic meter, that's the thing the airlines worry about,” said Arculus.

The Puyehue volcano in Chile has been erupting for the past week, throwing South American air travel into chaos as it spews ash high into the atmosphere.

In neighboring Argentina the cindery cloud has closed roads, blanketed grazing pastures and a ski resort. Local and international flight schedules have been severely disrupted.

Last year a volcano in Iceland sent vast plumes of ash over parts of Europe, grounding more than 100,000 planes as authorities were concerned over potential damage from the razor-sharp ash particles to jet engines.

In November eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Merapi caused the cancellation of dozens of flights.

Discuss this story and others on VOA forums

You May Like

Video VOA Exclusive: Poroshenko Wants Russia's UN Veto Stripped

Ukrainian president tells VOA's Myroslava Gongadze that global community would be safer if Russia's ability to play spoiler were ended More

Crime and Espionage Becoming Tangled Online

As the lines between cyber-crime and espionage blur, fighting hackers becomes harder More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Drowned Syrian Boys' Aunt Fights to Bring Family to Canada

Photos of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi's lifeless body on a beach in Turkey have put Canada's refugee policy in the spotlight
More

Guatemalans Vote Sunday

Campaigning has concluded despite calls for postponement and Thursday's resignation of President Otto Perez Molina over corruption allegations
More

Brazil, Argentina Seek to Resolve Colombia-Venezuela Border Spat

Venezuelan President last month closed several crossings, deported 1,300 Colombians in what he called a crackdown on smuggling, crime in turbulent area
More

Brazil Prosecutors Charge Lula's Former Chief of Staff

Jose Dirceu, who served in post from 2003-2005, is one of the most senior members of ruling Workers' Party targeted by prosecutors in massive scandal
More

Venezuela's Lopez Set to Give Closing Remarks at Trial

Opposition leader is charged with inciting violence in bloody protest movement in 2014, could face more than 10 years in prison
More

Guatemala's Ex-President Goes to Court After Night Behind Bars

Perez Molina's jailing followed historic day in which he resigned and country's Congress swore in VP Alejandro Maldonado to serve remainder of his term
More