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Quakes lift fears huge Icelandic volcano about to blow

August 21, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Iceland’s meteorological office has raised the air travel alert level as it assesses the increasing risk of an eruption of the country’s Bardarbunga volcano. The alert is now orange, the second-highest level, with earthquakes shaking the region around the volcano, which is located under a glacier.

Bardarbunga is the second highest mountain in Iceland and part of the country’s largest volcanic system, a colossal tract thought to be nearly 200 kilometres long and up to 25 kilometres wide.

There are signs of “ongoing magma movement” following the strongest earthquake recorded in the region since 1996, Iceland’s meteorological office says. The bulletin can be read here.

Bardarbunga

 

Any eruption could potentially lead to flooding or an emission of ash. The latter is of concern to the aviation industry.

When Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, it produced a vast ash cloud which severely disrupted European airspace and led to delays for passengers, with the effects feeding around the world.

The BBC reports that the Bardarbunga volcanic system is located under the north-west region of Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier.

“Intense seismic activity” began at the volcano last weekend, on 16 August 2014, Iceland’s meteorological office said.

Pjorsa Lava, the largest lava flow on earth in the past 12,000 years, was produced by the same volcanic system.

Bardarbunga, the volcano, has the advantage of being easier to say than Eyjafjallajokull. The latter is generally unpronounceable unless you are Icelandic.

 

Written by Peter Needham

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