Icelandic volcano begins eruption

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano began erupting Saturday under the ice of Europe’s largest glacier, prompting the country to close the airspace over the volcano.

Thousands of small earthquakes have rattled the volcano, located deep beneath the Vatnajokull glacier, in the last week. Seismic data indicated that magma from the volcano was melting ice beneath the glacier’s Dyngjujokull icecap, Meteorological Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer said.

The remote area, 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of the capital of Reykjavik, is uninhabited.

The Civil Protection Department said scientists flew over the ice cap Saturday afternoon but saw no visible signs of the eruption on the surface.

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.”

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.

“All airports are open and flights are on schedule,” said spokeswoman Olof Baldursdottir.

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.

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.

Scientists were monitoring a hydrological station downstream from the volcano for flooding, a common result of volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

Pfeffer said the amount of ash produced by the new eruption would depend on the thickness of the ice.

“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.

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.

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.

But the impact of the tiny island’s volcanoes has been felt around the world.

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.

 

Education

AHS celebrates the Class of 2024 with Friday night commencement

Education

‘… I like to help people’

Mower County

Congolese Musician Siama headlines 6th annual Fourth Avenue Fest in Austin

Agriculture

Five years of data reveal higher profitability for farms that are ag water quality certified

Education

CRC awards $12K in scholarships to local graduates

Education

In Your Community: Fire Department welcomes fire poster honorable mention

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

Education

Education Briefs

News

Lab-grown meat isn’t on store shelves yet, but some states have already banned it

News

At 100, this vet says the ‘greatest generation’ moniker fits ‘because we saved the world’

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions: May 20-27

News

Barred from combat, women working as codebreakers, cartographers and coxswains helped D-Day succeed

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Minneapolis police officer dies in ambush shooting that killed 2 others including suspected gunman

News

Guilty: Trump becomes first former U.S. president convicted of felony crimes

Business

Hormel Foods welcomes largest-ever class of inspired summer interns

Mower County

2024 Summer SURE Internship begins at The Hormel Institute

Mower County

Major archaeological survey is underway in Mower County

Education

Photos: Back to where it began. AHS seniors walk through Woodson Kindergarten

Agriculture

Farmers must kill 4.2 million chickens after bird flu hits Iowa egg farm

News

Jury deliberations begin in Donald Trump’s hush money criminal case

Mower County

Commissioners approve resolution using federal funds to replace county bridges

Mower County

Evolve wraps up successful season

Mower County

Young Eagles Flight Rally scheduled for June 8

Mower County

Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service offers paid training program