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Iceland Eruption Threatens Disruption

Monday May 23, 2011

Iceland Eruption Threatens Disruption

A second Icelandic volcano may cause flight disruption over the next few days, almost exactly a year after the Eyjafjallajokull ash cloud forced 34 countries to close their airspace. This time it is the Grimsvoetn volcano that has erupted, which is the most active cone in Iceland and is located in the middle of a glacier.

The volcanic activity began on Saturday night, with a 12 mile plume of smoke and ash being propelled into the atmosphere. The quantity of matter expelled by Grimsvoetn has already covered buildings and land in its vicinity with a thick layer and blocked out the sun for much of the day yesterday.

Reykjavik, which is some 250 miles away from the crater, was affected by the ash cloud during Sunday, which resulted in the closure of Iceland's airspace for the time being. Causing disruption to the holiday planning of many tourists.

At present, it is not clear if British skies will be affected or not, as the arrival of the ash cloud is dependent on how the weather develops over the next twenty-four hours. If the eruption continues throughout today and there is no change in the wind direction, it is probable the cloud could reach Scottish airspace by Tuesday, with more southerly European countries, such as France and Spain, affected by Thursday or Friday.

Experts in vulcanology and meteorology were not anticipating such widespread problems as those experienced last year, as the eruption is not expected to be as severe or long lasting. In addition, the ash being produced by Grimsvoetn is not as fine as that expelled by Eyjafjallajokull, which may also lessen the likelihood of air traffic disruption.

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