Throughout history, volcanoes have ejected staggering quantities of material into our atmosphere.
In our modern world, these eruptions pose many dangers.
But it isn't always the ejected lava that causes the most problems.
On March 20 2010 a volcano erupted in Iceland.
It was a relatively minor eruption, but the resulting giant ash cloud had a huge impact on the European economy.
Volcanic ash – Small particles of rock and ash
Wind pushed the cloud over western and northern Europe.
Forcing airports to close, and stranding passengers all across the world.
Planes were grounded due to the known dangers of flying through an ash cloud.
On June 24 1982, British pilot Captain Eric Moody experienced these dangers first hand.
During a flight across the Indian ocean he spotted an electrical phenomenon on the wings, usually caused by large thunderstorms, but this time was different.
Capt Eric Moody, Pilot – "I was looking on the radar to see where, perhaps this heavy thundercloud was and I could see nothing. So we were sort of discussing that when the flight engineer spoilt the whole evening, by saying number 4 engines failed, number 2's gone, number 3's gone, we've lost all four engines. And that just doesn't happen."
Unbeknownst to the crew, they had flown through a column of ash from a volcano in Indonesia.
Mount Galunggung, Indonesia
Prof Bill McGuire, Benfield Hazard Research Centre – "Volcanic ash and commercial aircraft just don't mix. The reason for that is that the ash gets into the aircraft engines, it melts the ash into the turbine blades and they stop."
Captain Moody's plane was in free-fall for 12 minutes before clearing the ash cloud.
Capt Eric Moody, Pilot – "We'd come down to around about 12,500 feet, from 37,000 feet, and number 4 engine, the first one that had failed, started. Number 3 engine started up, 1 and 2 started up together."
As they had fallen, the ash had frozen, and cold wind rushing through the engine had blown the chips away, allowing the turbines to restart.
The aeroplane was able to land safely, but it highlighted the dangers of volcanic ash.
It was a cautionary tale, which would be remembered in 2010 as the giant ash cloud spread over northern Europe.