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Eyjafjallajökull serves up plenty of tremor, and flight ban blame game continues 3 May 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Eyjafjöll, Iceland, volcano monitoring, volcanoes.
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The Eyjafjallajökull eruption has been at a constant and fairly low level of activity over the past few days: strombolian activity at the vent and lava flows descending the flanks, some steam from lava-water interaction, and occasional ashfall south of the volcano. However, tremor has been rising markedly since yesterday, indicating that magma movement is under way. This could produce an upsurge in activity (and perhaps more explosivity and ash production), or it could fade away and have no effect on what happens at ground level at all. It’s notable that the incidence of earthquakes, as distinct from tremor, is currently at a low level around Eyjafjallajökull, suggesting that whatever the magma may be doing at depth it is not yet making its way to the surface. Worth watching carefully, anyway – and of course that is precisely what the experts in Iceland and elsewhere are doing.

Meanwhile, changing wind patterns are raising fears that the ash cloud currently lying to the west of the British Isles may be pushed back towards Britain’s coasts. The blame game over the ash-related airline disruption continues, with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority telling the BBC that it’s the fault of the engine manufacturers that the flight ban lasted so long: the manufacturers, afraid of the commercial consequences of deciding what level of ash (and thus, in effect, what level of potential engine damage) was acceptable, dragged their feet over determining a new and more flexible standard. And in a new outbreak of nonsense at The Guardian, Peter Singer ruminates that ‘the greatest risks by far [in flying into a known volcanic ash hazard] are borne by the passengers and crew. If they are fully informed of the risks, and are still willing to fly – perhaps the crew has been offered more money, as workers in dangerous occupations often are – should we prevent them from making the decision to fly?’ Presumably there would be some kind of vote taken at the terminal in advance of each departure, with flight crews – steely glints in their eyes, extra cash in their pockets – standing ready to take the daring and the dauntless into the sky.

For all our Eyjafjallajökull coverage: Eyjafjöll « The Volcanism Blog.

Iceland volcano rumbles on, life does tooIceNews, 1 May 2010
There is a limit to the price of safetyThe Guardian, 2 May 2010
Fresh volcano ash cloud prompts fears for hospital patientsAberdeen Press & Journal, 3 May 2010
Volcano ash flight ban ‘might have ended sooner’ – BBC News, 3 May 2010

Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Data for Eyjafjallajökull/Myrdalsjökull – a range of near-real-time data from sensors on and around Eyjafjallajökull: tremor, seismicity, deformation, webcam images etc., from the Iceland Met Office

The Volcanism Blog


1. Chris, Reykjavik - 3 May 2010

There have been five Earthquakes in the Eyjafjallajökull area this morning within 10 minutes.

2. admin - 3 May 2010

Yes: five earthquakes (M1.6-1.9), two relatively shallow and the others around 18 km depth, between 04:59 and 05:09 this morning. Nothing since. Things remain quiet, as far as earthquakes go, at Eyjafjallajökull, but that could change very quickly of course.

3. EDantes - 3 May 2010

Thanks for the great post. Any chance of some coverage of what would be the signs preceding a Katla eruption? It took us 11 extra days to get home from Europe and we are supposed to go back several times this year so I’m hoping to be a bit better informed.

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