Iceland: Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupts (updated) 21 March 2010Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Eyjafjöll, Iceland.
Tags: Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjöll, Iceland, volcanic activity reports, volcanic eruptions
Above: Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupting, 21 March 2010. Detail of screen capture from this video (thanks go to Boris Behncke for the link).
Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland has erupted after an extended period of seismic restlessness. The volcano began to erupt around midnight local time 20/21 March 2010. Civil protection authorities report that no-one is in immediate danger, but between 500 and 600 people have been evacuated from their homes. Pictures and reports indicate a fissure eruption; lava flows and ashfall have been reported and roads have been closed. University of Iceland geologist Tumi Gudumundsson is quoted by ABC News as saying that the eruption is located beneath an ice-free portion of the volcano, lessening the chances of a glacial flood being caused by melted ice. This could change, however, as the eruption develops.
London VAAC issued an advisory at 0600Z reporting that the altitude of the eruption plume is currently unknown but is below FL150 (15,000 feet/4500 metres). The Icelandic civil aviation authority (Flugstoðir) has issued a NOTAM for the eruption, airports have been closed and incoming flights have been diverted away from Icelandic airspace. Egilsstaðir airport in eastern Iceland is the only Icelandic airport currently open, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Icelandic news site mbl.is (the Morgunblaðið newspaper) has some pictures of the eruption (H/T: comment from Korf at Eruptions). And some more very nice images here showing lava fountaining along the fissure (H/T: Boris Behncke at Eruptions, who also provides a link to this video – screen capture above).
UPDATE: some English-language news reports from Iceland Review Online. Geophyicist Freymódur Sigmundsson describes the eruption as ‘stable’ and ‘impressive’ after a three-hour overflight today, and observes that the rift is very close to the edge of both Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull and does not currently threaten to cause a glacial meltwater flood: ‘It is possible that the eruption moves south or north. If it goes south it could go under the glacier, but we have no indication of that’. The BBC News report on the eruption has been updated with comments from Pall Einarsson of the University of Iceland Institute of Earth Science: ‘This was a rather small and peaceful eruption but we are concerned that it could trigger an eruption at the nearby Katla volcano, a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage’. The Eyjafjallajökull-Katla connection needs careful watching.
UPDATE: more coverage at Eruptions – The 2010 fissure eruption at Eyjafjallajokull.
Volcano erupts near Eyjafjallajoekull in south Iceland – BBC News, 21 March 2010
Volcano erupts in Iceland, hundreds evacuated – ABC News, 21 March 2010
Volcano erupts near Eyjafallajoekull glacier in Iceland – The Times, 21 March 2010
Eruption in Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull – IceNews, 21 March 2010
Eldurinn sést úr Fljótshlíð – mbl.is, 21 March 2010
Eldgos á Fimmvörðuhálsi – Ríkisútvarpið vefur, 21 March 2010
Iceland eruption stable – Iceland Review Online, 21 March 2010
Iceland volcano erupts; sparks concern of larger eruption at nearby volcano – Christian Science Monitor, 21 March 2010
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)