Volcanic eruption starts on top of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A volcanic eruption has started under the top of Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland, producing plumes of steam rising up to 5,000 feet over the glacier. The eruption has created a large hole in the glacier, as well as a fissure that is forming under the glacier, which is now around 2 kilometers (1 mi) long.

People in the area have been evacuated because of massive flooding due to meltwater from the glacier. The first evacuations began at about 02.00 local time (03.00 UTC) today, because earthquakes in the area had pointed to an imminent eruption. Air traffic is prohibited in a large area around the eruption zone.

This is the second volcanic eruption in this area recently. On March 21, a volcanic eruption occurred in Fimmvörðuháls between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. The current eruption appears to be much more powerful.

Over the past 1,100 years, Eyjafjallajökull has erupted three times: in 920, 1612, and between 1821–1823. Each of these incidents directly preceded a major eruption in the nearby subglacial volcano, Katla.


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