May 22, 2011 by staff
Iceland Volcano, A new volcanic eruption in Iceland closed the country’s airspace on Sunday, one year after the eruption of the nearby air Eyjafjoell caused chaos across Europe. Aviation experts and officials said however that the impact of the eruption Grimsvoetn should not be so far reaching.
Grimsvoetn, the most active volcano in Iceland, situated in the heart of the largest glacier Vatnajoekull, erupted Saturday night, sending a plume of smoke and ash up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) into the sky. Ash soon covered nearby villages and farms in the morning and had reached the capital, about 400 kilometers west. “It’s just black outside and can hardly be said that is supposed to be daylight,” said a farmer Bjorgvin Hardarsson Hunbakkar Farm in the nearby village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur AFP. Sunday morning, the administration of Iceland airport Isavia announced that the country’s main airport Keflavik was closing and that, in principle, any country’s airspace was closed because of the ash cloud.
The closure of airspace “affects almost all of Iceland at the moment, at least for the next few hours. … Flights to and from Iceland are closing,” said Gudmundsdottir Isavia Hjordis spokesman told AFP, adding that the routes flight to the northern North Atlantic island nation might also be affected.
However, he said, the fact that the winds blew the ash to the north was much better than last year’s eruption Eyjafjoell, when a huge cloud of ash was blown to the south and southeast in continental Europe.
Eyjafjoell The eruption caused the largest planet in the closure of the airspace since the Second World War, which lasted nearly a month, amid fears of volcanic ash can cause havoc on aircraft engines.
In the morning on Sunday night, no European countries have decided to close its airspace, but aviation authorities in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, among the hardest hit last year, said they were following events closely.
The European aviation safety organization Eurocontrol said it expected the impact on European air space outside of Iceland and across the Atlantic, at least 24 hours.
In the Netherlands, a spokesman for the aviation authority told AFP he had so far no plans to cancel a planned flight from Amsterdam-Schiphol airport at Keflavik at 1200 GMT.
With the fall of ash on surrounding villages and as far away as Reykjavik on Sunday, geophysicists at the Icelandic Meteorological Office told AFP he expected the eruption Grimsvoetn have a much smaller impact on the international flights explosion last year.
“I do not expect it will have the same effect as Eyjafjoell volcano because the ash is not as good,” said Gunnar Gudmundsson AFP.
“I do not think this will have much effect on international flights or close airports abroad,” he said.
Einar Kjartansson, another geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, but insisted “it is too early to tell.”
“If the rash lasts long we might be seeing similar effects to those observed with Eyjafjoell last year,” he said, but added that at the moment, “most of the traffic at least in the south of Iceland is not affected.
“We do not know what will happen after that. We’re waiting for climate change Tuesday, when the winds should change to a north-west and the ash should be gone from us here (in Reykjavik),” he said.
Experts have been quick to point out however that no two volcanoes are alike, and Gudmundsson said it was unlikely that Grimsvoetn that emit the same type of ash – fine particles with very strong – as found in the mass column Eyjafjoell exploded.
“The eruption is still strong, but because the ash is basalt is harder and falls back to earth much faster,” he said.
Grimsvoetn, which has erupted nine times between 1922 and 2004, is located in a huge caldera – a collapsed volcanic crater – eight kilometers in diameter near the center of the ice field Vatnajoekull.
The last time that erupted in November 2004, volcanic ash fell as far away as continental Europe and caused minor interruptions in flights to and from Iceland.
Geologists had worried late last year the volcano was about to explode when they noticed a large river run caused by the rapid melting of glacier ice.
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