Satellites reveal how Iceland's ice-covered volcano wreaked havoc on Europe.
A silica-rich plume composed of ash, smoke and steam rose into the atmosphere over southern Iceland during the series of eruptions by Eyjafjallajokull volcano in spring 2010. Weary travelers were stranded at airports as air traffic across the Atlantic and over parts of Europe came to a halt. A European geostationary satellite, which orbits Earth above a single point, tracked the movement of the ash clouds as westerly winds carried them high above the ocean and toward northern Europe. Meanwhile, NASA's CALIPSO satellite measured the height and thickness of the material ejected into the atmosphere using its lidar instrument and infrared sensors. Together, the satellites created an unprecedented view of the eruption's aftermath. Watch the visualization below to see the movement and 3-D structure of the ash clouds released by Eyjafjallajokull volcano from May 6-8, 2010.