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 Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More

US Report: Immigration Officials' Apprehensions Rose in 2014

Apprehensions of Mexicans fall 14 percent; those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, rise 68 percent
More

Strife, Mutual Interests Mark Cuba-US Ties

Island nation was once a vacation destination for Americans; over years, many Cubans sought refuge across the Florida Straits
More

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change
More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings
More

Cubans Imagine New, More Prosperous Life Without an Old Foe

News of the historic shift in US-Cuban relations echoed quickly through the Spanish colonial plazas of Old Havana this week
More