Skip to comments.Volcanic ash strands 30,000 in Australia, NZ
Posted on 06/12/2011 4:15:35 PM PDT by EBH
Tens of thousands of passengers in Australia and New Zealand were stranded when airlines suspended flights Sunday as an ash cloud from an erupting volcano in southern Chile spread, threatening to damage engines.
Australia's national carrier, Qantas Airways, said all the airline's flights in and out of the southeastern city of Melbourne would be grounded. Other carriers including Virgin Australia and discount airlines Jetstar and Tiger similarly suspended flights.
Up to 30,000 passengers in New Zealand and Australia found themselves stuck, according to airlines' estimates. Sunday afternoon, frustrated travelers lined up in airports and looked for last-minute accommodation. Hotels near Melbourne's airport were fully booked.
The plume of ash could disrupt travel for the next several days, according to Airservices Australia. It said the main ash cloud had reached southern Tasmania and New Zealand's South Island but it was expected to pass to the south of the Australian mainland.
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I want to be stranded in NZ! But I guess not if it’s covered in ash and has no hotel rooms...
>>Busy volcano weekend... <<
Humans cause global warming and that causes volcanos. And volcanos cause more global warming!
Oh Noooezz! Humans are the problem!!! We must leave the planet!!!
Is this the New Zealand that hates our Sarah Palin?
And most volcanoes are erupting under the oceans and
emitting tons of gases. Those darned American
Scuba drivers with their underwater trucks and SUVs...
>>Those darned American
Scuba drivers with their underwater trucks and SUVs...<<
Read the headlines — the evil SUVs don’t need drivers...
By appearances, this seems to be a much greater volume of ash than last year's eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which shut down air travel over Europe. Recall that passengers were on the ground under clear blue skies wondering why they weren't flying. In Buenos Aires the ash is palpable, and health officials warned that those with respiratory problems should keep in doors. ( Buenos Aires is 860 miles from Puyehue, compared with 1090 miles from Eyjafjallajökull to London. )
The plume has been drifting east, and while Australia is almost diametrically opposed to the volcano, the eastern way is the long way around. The plume has been carried south and whip-sawed around Antartica to approach Australia and New Zealand from the south.
I measure the length of the shadow, from the vertical line of the peak to the shadow terminus at the same altitude, at about 10 miles , using Google Earth. ( You could be more precise. ) I estimate that sun angle at 26 degrees from my Starry Night software, putting the peak altitude of the ash plume at about 5 miles.
If you access the MODSI Terra image you can follow the plume all the way to Buenos Aires, where it completely obscures the city at that hour. This eruption is a national disaster for Argentina.