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Iceland eruption: UK airspace closure extended (updated) 15 April 2010

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As a result of the ongoing Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption in southern Iceland the UK’s air traffic control organization NATS has extended the closure of United Kingdom airspace announced earlier today. NATS statement:

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Thurs April 15, 14:00

The cloud of volcanic ash is now spread across the UK and continuing to travel south. In line with international civil aviation policy, no flights other than agreed emergencies are currently permitted in UK controlled airspace. Following a review of the latest Met Office information, NATS advises that these restrictions will remain in place in UK controlled airspace until 0700 (UK time) tomorrow, Friday 16 April, at the earliest. We will review further Met Office information and at 2000 today (UK time) we will advise the arrangements that will be in place through to 1300 (UK time) tomorrow.

We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

As well as the total closure of UK airspace, the ash emissions from the Icelandic eruption are causing extensive disruption across the north Atlantic and northern Europe. The BBC has detailed and up-to-date coverage, and Dr Klemetti has more volcanological insights at the Eruptions blog: Threat of Icelandic ash closes airspace over Europe.

UPDATE – the latest statement from NATS is as follows:

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Thurs April 15, 20:20

The cloud of volcanic ash continues to cover much of the UK. Following a review of the latest Met Office information, NATS advises that restrictions will remain in place in UK controlled airspace until 1300 (UK time) tomorrow, Friday 16 April, at the earliest.

However, flights from Northern Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick may be allowed in the period from 0100 (UK time) to 1300 (UK time) tomorrow subject to individual co-ordination. North Atlantic traffic to and from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick and Belfast may also be allowed in the period.

We will review further Met Office information and at 0230 (UK time) tomorrow we will advise the arrangements that will be in place through to 1800 (UK time) tomorrow. However be aware that the situation cannot be said to be improving with any certainty as the forecast affected area appears to be closing in from east to west. We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

Also, there is news that volcanic ash is arriving in small quantities at ground level in the Shetlands and northern Scotland.

The Volcanism Blog

Icelandic ash cloud closes UK airports (updated) 15 April 2010

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Meteosat Iceland ash cloud 15 April 2010 0700 GMT
Meteosat image of the Iceland ash cloud, 07:00 GMT on 15 April 2010. Click on the image for the EUMETSAT source page.

The ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption in southern Iceland has reached the British Isles and is having a severe impact upon air travel to and from UK and Irish airports. According to London VAAC the plume is reaching altitudes of 6-11 km and stretches across much of northern Britain. Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports in Scotland are all currently closed, and in England and Wales traffic at Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and London’s Gatwick, Heathrow and Standsted airports being disrupted. Flights from Dublin and from Belfast’s airports have also been suspended. The flight disruption is affecting all North Atlantic flights, with the United States FAA reporting ‘most Trans-Atlantic flights’ affected this morning; and of course Iceland’s own air traffic is severely disrupted as well. Even the current British general election campaign is being affected by the flight disruption (cue lame references to seismic events and political faultlines).

Click here for Meteosat imagery of the ash cloud. The UK Met Office model of the ash cloud’s spread between 1800Z on 14 April and 1200Z on 15 April can be found here. The 1200Z image is shown below; the different colour lines indicate the approximate area of the cloud at various heights: red = between surface and FL200 (6,000 metres), green = between FL200 and FL350 (between 6,000 and 10,600 metres), blue = between FL 350 and FL 550 (between 10,600 and 16,700 metres).

Iceland ice cloud model 15 April 2010 (UK Met Office)

UPDATE: The effects of the ash are spreading across northern Europe. Denmark is closing its airspace from 1600 GMT today, and there is air traffic disruption in Norway, Sweden and Finland. UK air traffic control organization NATS has closed United Kingdom airspace from 1200 until at least 1800 BST today. Text of NATS statement:

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Thurs April 15, 09:30
From midday today until at least 6pm, there will be no flights permitted in UK controlled airspace other than emergency situations. This has been applied in accordance with international civil aviation policy. We continue to monitor the situation with the Met Office and work closely with airline customers and adjoining countries. We will review the situation later today to understand what further action will be required.

(‘A huge ash mushroom across major British flight paths threatens to turn the journies [sic] of thousands of families returning from their Easter holidays into a nightmare’  reports The Times, displaying the kind of journalistic quality for which they’ll be expecting online readers to pay soon. Huge ash mushroom indeed.)

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

News
Flights limited due to new Icelandic eruptionIceland Review Online, 14 April 2010
Volcano ash from Iceland hits UK flights – BBC News, 15 April 2010
Dust from volcano closes Scottish airports – BBC News, 15 April 2010
Volcanic ash ‘a very serious risk’ to aircraft – BBC News, 15 April 2010
Volcanic ash creates flights chaos across BritainThe Times, 15 April 2010
Airports closed as volcanic ash drifts towards UKThe Guardian, 15 April 2010
Volcano ash shuts many airports in U.K. – CNN, 15 April 2010
FAA says most North Trans-Atlantic flights affected by volcano dangerWall Street Journal, 15 April 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)

The Volcanism Blog

Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption: NASA satellite imagery 14 April 2010

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Fimmvorduhalsi eruption 14 April 2010 (NASA Terra MODIS true colour image)

The latest NASA satellite images of the resurgent Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption in southern Iceland can be found via the Rapid Response System site, and are very impressive. The detail above comes from this Terra MODIS image captured on 14 April 2010: the eruption plume (white in colour – almost entirely steam from melted ice and snow) can be seen blowing due east from the seat of the eruption at Fimmvörduháls. The area shown in the image is about 150 km wide.

[Thanks to Robert Simmon of NASA for dropping us a line about the Rapid Response images.]

The Volcanism Blog

Quick note on the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption 14 April 2010

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Activity at the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption in southern Iceland appears to have increased dramatically over the last few hours, with reports that the eruption has become subglacial and is producing meltwater flooding.

Regrettably, I just don’t have the time at the moment to cover the eruption here, but fortunately Dr Erik Klemetti is doing a superb job of reporting and analysing events in Iceland at the Eruptions blog, so that’s the place to go to find out what’s going on. I’ll catch up with things here when I can.

The Volcanism Blog

The new fissure at Fimmvörðuháls 1 April 2010

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Eyjafjallajokull from Fimmvorduhals, 1 April 2010

The sudden appearance of a new eruptive fissure at Fimmvörðuháls yesterday took onlookers by surprise, according to news reports from Iceland: around 50 people had to be evacuated by helicopter, and the area around the eruption is now closed to tourists. A report in Morgunblaðið puts the length of the new fissure at 300 metres, and its location as 200 metres north of the initial location of the eruption, while RÚV reports the length as 300-400 metres. The new fissure trends north-south, roughly at right angles to the east-west alignment of the first fissure. A video of the activity beginning at the new fissure can be found here (H/T Jón Frímann). The picture above is from the Fimmvörðuháls webcam, and was taken at 08:00 GMT this morning.

The Icelandic Met Office have published an article looking at what the patterns of seismicity at Eyjafjallajökull reveal about the path of the magma over the period 13-24 March: ‘The magma path revealed’. It seems that the main feeder conduit for the eruption is situated beneath the eastern part of the Eyjafjallajökull ice-cap and rises nearly vertically to around 2-3 km depth, and then changes direction to run horizontally eastwards for about 4.5 km to the point outside the ice margin where the eruption began on 21 March 2010. The article does not speculate about the possible reasons for the horizontal diversion: local faulting, or the hardness/composition of the rock beneath the ice-cap perhaps?

The most urgent question now is whether further fissures will open, and where. The current seat of the eruption is located between two icecaps; the emergence of a new fissure beneath the ice would renew the threat of a jökulhlaup or glacial meltwater flood.

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

News
Ný sprunga opnaðist – myndir – RÚV, 31 March 2010
Iceland: new craters open up. ‘We saw the Earth open up’Iceland Review Online, 1 April 2010
Nýr gígur á hálsinumMorgunblaðið, 1 April 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)

The Volcanism Blog

Eyjafjallajökull/Fimmvörðuhálsi eruption opens a new fissure 31 March 2010

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Icelandic broadcaster RUV reports tonight that a new fissure has opened at the Eyjafjallajökull/Fimmvörðuhálsi eruption site. At Fimmvörðuhálsi right now it is (a) getting dark and (b) snowing so it’s hard to get a good webcam picture: this capture from a clear period at around 19:40 GMT is the best I could do. If it is clearer later there should be some spectacular night-time pictures [EDIT: see pictures from 20:08 and 21:46 GMT below).

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-31

The yellow arrow on the left marks the location of the new eruptive fissure, from which incandescence (more dancing fire fountains) can just be made out. The red arrow on the right indicates the main fissure.

EDIT: A picture from slightly later, around 20:08 GMT:

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-31

EDIT: and another, from 21:46 GMT. Positively Dantesque:

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-31

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

News
Ný sprunga myndaðist – RUV, 31 March 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Eyjafjallajökull eruption March 2010 – summary of events from the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center
Photos from Fimmvörðuháls – images and information from the Iceland Meteorological Office

The Volcanism Blog

Eyjafjallajökull/Fimmvörðuhálsi eruption: another satellite image at the NASA Earth Observatory 30 March 2010

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Eruption of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, Iceland, 26 March 2010 (NASA Earth Observatory)

Hot on the heels of the Advanced Land Imager’s view of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption showcased by the NASA Earth Observatory a few days ago comes this MODIS image captured by the Terra satellite on 26 March 2010 which shows very clearly the location of the current activity at Fimmvörduháls, between the two icecaps of Eyjafjallajökull (west) and Mýrdalsjökull (east). It is fortunate that the eruption is between the icecaps and not beneath them: a subglacial eruption would threaten to unleash a meltwater flood or jökulhlaup.

Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland – NASA Earth Observatory, 29 March 2010

Meanwhile, the Fimmvörduháls webcam operated by Icelandic telecomms company Míla is providing great close-up images of the eruption once again. Vigorous fire fountain activity is visible even in daylight. This view was captured at 18:28 GMT this evening:

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-30

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

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Eyjafjallajökull eruption March 2010 – summary of events from the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center
Photos from Fimmvörðuháls – images and information from the Iceland Meteorological Office

The Volcanism Blog

The fires of Fimmvörðuhálsi 28 March 2010

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A new webcam is providing dramatic live images of the Eyjafjallajökull/Fimmvörðuhálsi eruption, particularly after dark. The images below were captured between 20:55 and 21:00 GMT this evening, when the fire fountains seemed to be particularly vigorous.

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-28 [1]

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-28 [2]

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-28 [3]

Eyjafjallajokull fra Fimmvorduhalsi 2010-03-28 [4]

The webcam is provided by Icelandic telecommunications company Míla, and can be found at this link: Eyjafjallajökull frá Fimmvörðuhálsi. Also available from Míla, the Eyjafjallajökull frá Þórólfsfelli webcam (which is situated further from the seat of the eruption).

UPDATE. The Fimmvörðuhálsi camera has broken down. Oh well, no doubt they will get it fixed in due course.

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

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Eyjafjallajökull eruption March 2010 – summary of events from the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center
Photos from Fimmvörðuháls – images and information from the Iceland Meteorological Office

The Volcanism Blog

Eyjafjallajökull/Fimmvörduháls at the NASA Earth Observatory 27 March 2010

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As previewed here (and at Eruptions) yesterday, the NASA Earth Observatory image of the day for 27 March 2010 is the ongoing fissure eruption at Eyjafjallajökull/Fimmvörduháls in south Iceland.

Eruption of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, Iceland, 24 March 2010 (NASA Earth Observatory)

A commenter here asked about the green colour visible within the fissure and the drainage channel in this image. Robert Simmon of NASA answers that question in the Eruptions comments thread: ‘The green along the margin of the lava flow is an artifact of the satellite sensor. The true-color image is the combination of a 30m/pixel RGB image with a 10m/pixel panchromatic image. Each color pixels covers the same area as 9 panchromatic pixels, so you’ll occasionally get odd colors in high contrast areas’.

Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland – NASA Earth Observatory, 27 March 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Eyjafjallajökull eruption March 2010 – summary of events from the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center
Photos from Fimmvörðuháls – images and information from the Iceland Meteorological Office

The Volcanism Blog

Eyjafjallajökull update, 26 March 2010 (updated) 26 March 2010

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Volcanic eruption at Fimmvorduhals, 24 March 2010 (NASA image, ALI/EO-1)

Above is a labelled detail of an image of the current Eyjafjallajökull (or Fimmvörduháls) eruption in Iceland, captured by the Advanced Land Imager aboard NASA’s EO-1 satellite on 24 March 2010 and reproduced here courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory. The active fissure can be seen bottom left, with its lava fountains and its plume of gas and ash, with a predominance of water vapour indicated by its light colouring. The smaller plume in the centre is produced not by an additional fissure but by phreatomagmatic activity caused by the lava flow which can be seen flowing north-east from the seat of the eruption encountering an abrupt steepening of its descent (as reported here). This image was sent over by Robert Simmon in advance of its publication at the NASA Earth Observatory site: our grateful thanks to Robert for the preview.

Yesterday ‘increased force’ in the eruption was reported, but today the webcams appear to show diminished activity (although the reduction of ice and snow in the vicinity of the eruption through melting may also be playing a role in reducing the scale of the eruption plumes). A warning has been issued about toxic fumes in the vicinity of the eruption: sulphur, flourine, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are being released by the activity. Seismically things appear fairly stable underneath Eyjafjallajökull and Katla and there is little sign of the latter stirring, although prudent preparations are under way locally, just in case. There has been much media speculation about the potential global consequences of a Katla eruption; New Scientist has an oddly-titled but sober assessment, only giving in to temptation and mentioning Laki 1783 at the very end.

Thanks to Steinar Sigurðsson of Icelandic Mountain Guides for sending a link to this report on his site: Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupts in Iceland (23 March 2010). There is also a very useful collection of links relating to the eruption at this Eyjafjallajökull links page.

UPDATE: If this eruption builds a mountain, it will need a name. What should the new mountain be called?

News
Iceland waits for volcanic shoe to dropNew Scientist, 22 March 2010
Two-hundred meter high lava fall in South IcelandIceland Review Online, 24 March 2010
Increased force in South Iceland volcanoIceland Review Online, 25 March 2010
Global cooling: what happens if the Iceland volcano blowsUSA Today, 25 March 2010
South Iceland inhabitants prepare for second eruptionIceland Review Online, 25 March 2010
Toxic fumes at source of Iceland eruptionIceland Review Online, 26 March 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Eyjafjallajökull eruption March 2010 – summary of events from the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center

The Volcanism Blog