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Another Iceland volcano threatens air traffic

23 May 2011

Another volcanic eruption in Iceland, which occurred on May 21, 2011, could threaten European air traffic, but not on the scale of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010.

The Grimsvotn, which is Iceland’s most active volcano sitting under Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull, has already led to the closure of the country’s main gateway, Keflavik International Airport. This latest ashfall is predicted to reach the UK by Tuesday this week.

For the moment, air movements are proceeding normally. Eurocontrol, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation, stated that “there is currently no impact on European or transatlantic flights and the situation is expected to remain so for the next 24 hours.”

The eruption so far does not look as intense as the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull last April, which grounded several flights in and out of Europe. According to the Iclandic Met Office, the eruption initially spewed an ash plume 20km into the air, “but during the night it fell to 15km.” Currently, the plume of ash has reached a height of 12km. 

Alisha Haridasani

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