The big news over the last few days has been the massive smoke and dust cloud caused by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Big news stories like this provide a topical hook for many lessons – especially science and geography.

Here are some links to resources that could be used when discussing the ash cloud and its effects with students:

Here are some resources from, including an Interactive Map of the Ash Cloud

This page explains the effects of volcanic ash on jet engines and airplanes. And the BBC also explains the damage it can cause.

The UK Airspace has been totally closed to air traffic since Thursday morning. Here’s what the UK Airspace should usually look like, taken from the BBC’s Britain from Above programme:

Could be used to start a discussion about our reliance on air travel and environmental impact.

Nasa has been posting satellite images of the ash cloud over Europe:

And there are some very useful maps from the BBC as well.

As always, The Big Picture have produced some amazing images of the Volcano erupting, as well as a satellite image of the ash cloud over the UK. Some excellent images here.

As an interesting discussion point, it’s worth considering the CO2 emitted normally by the Aviation industry compared to the CO2 emitted by the volcano. Add to that the Co2 saved by halting flights for several days. Interesting graphic here (Thanks @Kisa for the link)

Radar Image of Ashcloud

Watch the volcanic eruption in Iceland via webcam from a safe distance :
Here you can see a live feed of photos from a camera located in Þórólfsfell, which has a view over the river Markarfljót and the glacier Eyjafjallajökull where the eruption is:

For information on what a volcano is and how it forms, here are some other links;

BBC’s animated Volcano page, and live update page

National Geographic – Inside a Volcano Video

Heinemann – How Volcanoes Form Video

Interactive Volcano Explorer from Discovery Channel – explore and build your own volcano

Michigan Technological University Volcanoes Page

Which are earth’s active volcanoes?–Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Network

How Volcanoes Work —NASA SDSU

An interesting page is the Active Volcano Map – Using the Google API to explore current active volcanoes around the world.

To schools starting back on Monday after the Easter break, I hope you don’t have too many disruptions due to staff and students not able to get back for the new term. To all of those stuck overseas (including a few of my colleagues!) I hope you all get back soon!

You can follow what people are saying about the volcano on Twitter using the brilliantly named #ashtag hashtag 🙂 and also #icerupt #ashcloud and #volcano

Update 19th April – More amazing pictures from the volcano added to the Big Picture today. Some jaw-dropping lightning shots.