Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Small fissure eruption near Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano prompts aviation alert

FILE - This is a Aug. 19, 2014 file image taken from video of a sign is posted on the road next to Bardarbunga, a subglacial stratovolcano located under Iceland's largest glacier. Earthquakes are rocking Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano, adding to concerns that magma movements may trigger an eruption that could hinder air traffic. Iceland's Met Office says two earthquakes measuring over magnitude 5 shook the volcano under the vast Vatnajokull glacier on Wednesday Aug. 27 2014. Some 500 quakes have hit the area since midnight. (AP Photo/Courtesy Channel 2 Iceland, File) ICELAND OUT

Enlarge Image

FILE - This is a Aug. 19, 2014 file image taken from video of a sign is posted on the road next to Bardarbunga, a subglacial stratovolcano located under Iceland's largest glacier. Earthquakes are rocking Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano, adding to concerns that magma movements may trigger an eruption that could hinder air traffic. Iceland's Met Office says two earthquakes measuring over magnitude 5 shook the volcano under the vast Vatnajokull glacier on Wednesday Aug. 27 2014. Some 500 quakes have hit the area since midnight. (AP Photo/Courtesy Channel 2 Iceland, File) ICELAND OUT

REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Lava fountains danced along a lengthy volcanic fissure near Iceland's subglacial Bardarbunga volcano Sunday, prompting authorities to raise the aviation warning code to the highest level and close the surrounding airspace.

The red warning code — the highest in the country's alert system — was raised early Sunday after the eruption in the Holuhraun lava field, about five kilometres (three miles) north of the Dyngjujoekull glacier. The warning was lowered 12 hours later as visibility improved and it was clear that no volcanic ash was detected.

The country's meteorological agency said scientists were monitoring the ongoing eruption.

"Visual observation confirms it is calm, but continuous," the weather agency said on its website.

Sunday morning's eruption at about 0500 GMT (1 a.m. EDT) followed a smaller one in the same site on Friday that also prompted authorities to briefly raise the aviation warning code to restrict flights in the area. Thousands of small earthquakes have rocked the region in recent days, leading to concerns that the main volcano may erupt.

The aviation warning meant that no flights were allowed in the airspace north of the fissure eruption area, up to 6,000 feet (1.1 miles) from the ground. Aviation officials said the restrictions do not affect commercial flights, which fly much higher than that.

Authorities said lava fountains of about 50 metres (165 feet) high erupted Sunday from the fissure, estimated to be almost a mile (1.6 kms) long.

The fissure eruption appeared about 40 kilometres (28 miles) from the main Bardarbunga volcano, which lies under the vast Vatnajokull glacier that dominates the eastern corner of Iceland.

Though remote and sparsely populated, the area is popular with hikers in the summer. Officials earlier evacuated all tourists in the region after intense seismic activity there.

Although Sunday's fissure eruption was more powerful than the one on Friday, experts say the situation is contained and is unlikely to result in the same level of aviation chaos as 2010. In April that year, an eruption at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano wreaked havoc on millions of travellers. More than 100,000 flights were cancelled after officials closed Europe's air space for five days out of fear that volcanic ash could damage jet engines.

Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist at Britain's Open University, said the fissure eruptions produce only very small amounts of ash — they produce mostly lava — and are highly unlikely to cause any aviation disruption.

"It's good news in the sense that it appears to be very small, very contained. It's not spreading under the glacier — if it did you'll get a lot of flooding," he said.

He said Icelandic authorities are mostly concerned that the main volcano under the ice cap will erupt, but there are no signs so far that this is imminent.

___

Sylvia Hui contributed to this report from London.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media