clear
Wednesday August 5th, 2015 12:26AM

Airlines on alert as eruption begins in Iceland

By The Associated Press
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano burst forth with a small eruption Saturday under the ice of Europe's largest glacier, scientists said, prompting the country to close airspace over the area.<br /> <br /> Thousands of small earthquakes have rattled the volcano, located deep beneath the Vatnajokull glacier, in the last week. Icelandic Meteorological Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer said Saturday that seismic data indicated that an eruption had begun, with magma from the volcano melting ice within the glacier's Dyngjujokull icecap,<br /> <br /> The remote area, 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of the capital of Reykjavik, is uninhabited.<br /> <br /> The Civil Protection Department said scientists flew over the ice cap Saturday afternoon but saw no visible signs of the eruption on the surface. Late Saturday the Met Office said there were "no signs of ongoing volcanic activity."<br /> <br /> Still, authorities raised the country's aviation alert to red - the highest level on a five-point scale - indicating the threat of "significant emission of ash into the atmosphere."<br /> <br /> Icelandic authorities declared a no-fly zone of 100 nautical miles by 140 nautical miles around the eruption as a precaution, but did not shut down air space over most of the island nation in the North Atlantic.<br /> <br /> "All airports are open and flights are on schedule," said spokeswoman Olof Baldursdottir.<br /> <br /> A 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano produced an ash cloud that caused a week of international aviation chaos, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled.<br /> <br /> Pfeffer said it was not clear when, or if, the eruption would melt through the ice - which is between 100 to 400 meters (330 to 1,300 feet) thick - and fling steam and ash into the air. She said it could take up to a day for the ice to melt - or the eruption might remain contained beneath Europe's largest glacier.<br /> <br /> Scientists were monitoring a hydrological station downstream from the volcano for flooding, a common result of volcanic eruptions in Iceland.<br /> <br /> Pfeffer said the amount of ash produced by the new eruption would depend on the thickness of the ice.<br /> <br /> "The thicker the ice, the more water there is, the more explosive it will be and the more ash-rich the eruption will be," she said.<br /> <br /> Iceland sits on a volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge and eruptions occur frequently, triggered when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.<br /> <br /> Well-practiced emergency procedures mean eruptions in Iceland usually do not cause deaths. Authorities evacuated several hundred people, mostly hikers, earlier this week from the highlands north of the Vatnajokull glacier as a precaution.<br /> <br /> But the impact of the tiny island's volcanoes has been felt around the world.<br /> <br /> Millions of people were stranded in April 2010, when aviation officials closed Europe's air space for five days out of fear that ash from Eyjafjallajokul could harm jet engines.<br /> <br /> European aviation authorities later changed their policy, giving airlines detailed information about the location and density of ash clouds but leaving decisions to airlines and national regulators.<br /> <br /> A 2011 eruption of Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano was far more powerful than Eyjafjallajokul but cause much less disruption to aviation.<br /> <br /> The budget airline EasyJet, which flies between Britain and Iceland, said it was operating as usual. It said it would use ash-detection technology, satellite data and other information "to determine what, if any, changes it should make to its flying program" in the event of an ash cloud.<br /> <br /> The chunk of closed airspace over the volcano extends over the North Atlantic, and Virgin Atlantic said a London-do-San Francisco flight took a detour to avoid it.<br /> <br /> Nicholas Wyke, a spokesman for continental air traffic controller Eurocontrol, told The Associated Press in an e-mail that it was difficult to estimate how many flights typically crossed that airspace, noting that trans-Atlantic flights vary their routes based on wind conditions.<br /> <br /> "It is unlikely that this danger area will have any significant effect on north Atlantic traffic," he said.
  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Business News
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 7 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 7 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 7 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 7 months ago )
Business News
The Latest: California wildfire 20 percent contained
LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — The latest on wildfires burning in California (all times local):6:30 p.m.Fire crews have made some progress against a stubborn fire that has consumed more than 101 square mil...
11:45PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Week-old wildfire wreaks havoc on California vacation spot
MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (AP) — A predictable but painful summertime ritual played out in half a dozen resort communities near California's largest freshwater lake on Tuesday as an erratic, week-old wildfir...
11:39PM ( 47 minutes ago )
Tax filing problems could jeopardize health law aid for 1.8M
WASHINGTON (AP) — About 1.8 million households that got financial help for health insurance under President Barack Obama's law now have issues with their tax returns that could jeopardize their subsid...
5:22PM ( 7 hours ago )
Sheriff: 2 men fire at soldiers in Mississippi; none hurt
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Authorities are searching for two men who fired gunshots from a vehicle at soldiers at a military facility in Mississippi, although no one was reported wounded, a sheriff sai...
4:53PM ( 7 hours ago )
More fights ahead on Planned Parenthood after Senate vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — After the Senate's derailing of Republican legislation halting federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, one thing seems clear: Many on both sides think they can ring up gains from the...
4:15PM ( 8 hours ago )