The ash plume from the February 11, 2010 eruption of Soufriere Hills taken by theAqua MODIS camera. Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory.
Flights have been disrupted in the West Indies since last week with the large dome-collapse eruptions of Soufriere Hills on Montserrat. The 10 km / ~35,000 foot ash plume is apparently lingering in the air at commercial flight levels, meaning delays, cancellations or long detours for many flights in the area. Flights in and out of Dominica, Guadelope, Montserrat, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis have all been effected by the ash from the volcano. The ash has also been a big problem, not surprisingly, on Montserrat itself, mostly making daily activities more difficult from breathing in the fine ash. The folks over at NASA caught a nice Aqua MODIS image of the erupting volcano on February 11 (see above).
It seems like only yesterday we were talking about the dangers of Mayon in the Philippines and now they are already worrying about opening the volcano back up to hikers. However, PHIVOLCS has made it clear that it is still not safe to enter the 6-km exclusion zone around the volcano as sulfur dioxide emissions from Mayon still remain elevated. This suggests that there is still degassing magma within the upper parts of the magmatic system.