Will new volcanic eruption in Iceland affect flights?

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A live stream of the volcanic eruption near Reykjavik in Iceland can be viewed on YouTube – but tourists have been warned to stay away



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A volcano has erupted in Iceland, near the capital Reykjavik

A volcano has erupted near the capital Reykjavik in Iceland, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

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The eruption happened near Mount Fagradalsfjall, 32 km from the capital and 37 km from Keflavik Airport.

There are small earthquakes in the area after days.

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Thousands of tourists and locals have since made the trek to the site (about five hours round trip) to witness the spectacle of the glowing lava coursing through the valley of Meradalir.

A volcano has erupted in Iceland, near the capital Reykjavik

The path to the eruption has now been temporarily closed to allow crews to build a safer and more accessible path for visitors, despite gas pollution warnings.

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The country’s airport remained open with no disruption to flights, but a code red was declared to stop planes flying over the site.

When was the last time Fagradalsfjall volcano erupted?

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An eruption in the same area last year produced spectacular lava flows for several months.

This year’s will be even bigger as the lava flows from a new 300-meter-long fissure that opened on the northeast side of the original craters.

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According to the Met Office, there are around 30 volcanic systems in Iceland.

Because the country sits over a volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic, citizens typically see an eruption every four to five years.

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The volcanic eruption in 2010 created a huge ash cloud that grounded flights for days

The most disturbing of these occurred in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano produced a huge ash cloud.

This halted air traffic in the region and between Europe and North America for several days over fears that the ash could damage jet engines.

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More than 100,000 flights have been grounded and millions of passengers stranded.

This eruption is not expected to produce an ash plume, but there are concerns about the gas pollution it will cause – as children under 12 are now banned from visiting.

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Why did the volcano erupt?

Volcanoes erupt when magma, produced when the Earth’s mantle melts, rises to the surface.

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Melting can happen when tectonic plates pull apart or when one plate is pushed under another.

In the case of Fagradalsfjall volcano, this happened due to several earthquakes in the area.

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However, some environmental experts have warned that climate change could lead to an increase in volcanic activity, but the potential impacts are not yet fully understood.

Can I visit the eruption site?

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Many tourists and locals visited the site in the early stages of the eruption and shared photos and videos of the impressive lava and craters.

Student Noemi Löw, for example, told ITV News: “I’m a PhD student at the University of Iceland and I just went to the lava flow and grabbed a piece of lava from the flow.

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“And later we’re going to analyze that in a lab to understand the chemical composition of the lava, because it can tell us something about the gas composition and the different components that make up this lava.”

However, in recent days, the Icelandic Weather Bureau has warned people to stay away from the erupting volcano and closed the route to the site.

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Children under the age of 12 have also been banned from visiting because volcanoes give off dangerous fumes and children are particularly susceptible to gas poisoning.

Some people continued to visit despite the warnings, and Icelandic authorities told news website Iceland Review yesterday that teams rescued two primary school-age children who were suffering from hypothermia after attempting the hike with their parents.

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Visitors have come to watch the lava flow from the volcano in Fagradalsfjall, Iceland

If you decide to visit the site after it reopens, keep in mind that of course, being near an active volcano is never entirely safe.

Always follow the suggested routes and advice of the rescue personnel.

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Rescue teams have made the following suggestions:

  • dress appropriately for the weather and wear sensible shoes
  • Bring water, food, a headlamp and a fully charged phone
  • Leave your car in the parking lot, not on the curb
  • Under no circumstances should you walk on the lava
  • Avoid smoky areas to limit exposure to gas pollution

The hike is at least seven kilometers long and has a height difference of three hundred meters.

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The best route to erupt depends on the wind direction and weather at any given time, so pay close attention to the crew’s recommendations.

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