Iceland issues Red Alert for aviation, fears 2010 volcano disaster repeat

Published on : Sunday, August 24, 2014

airplane-imagesA Red Alert for airliners in Europe is in effect as of Saturday. Iceland raised its aviation alert for the volcano to the highest level of red, indicating an eruption that could cause significant emission of ash into the atmosphere.”

 

Red is the highest alert warning on a five-point scale.

Icelandic officials issued warnings to travelers of intense seismic activity at the Bardarbunga volcano, which is creating an apprehension of a repeat of 2010′s Eyjafjallajokull eruption and the air travel chaos caused by the resulting dust cloud.

All the airlines crisscrossing the air space above Bardarbunga have been placed on high alert due to fears that an Icelandic volcano is about to erupt — sending an ash cloud up into the sky.

Intense seismic activity at the Bardarbunga volcano has seen officials issue a “code orange” — the second highest level of risk — to travel companies.

Aviation color codes are used to indicate the level of risk a volcano poses to air travel, according to the BBC.

An orange alert suggests the volcano is showing “escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption.”

Many fear there could be a repeat of the flight chaos caused in 2010 when the island’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted.

The resulting dust cloud shut down Europe’s airspace for six days — canceling 100,000 flights, stranding 10 million passengers and costing an eye- watering $1.8 billion.

“There are signs of ongoing magma movement,” Iceland’s Met Office said in a statement regarding Bardarbunga.

“At 2:37 a.m. on the 18th the strongest earthquake occurred in the region since 1996,” it added.

Iceland sits on a volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic’s mid-oceanic ridge and eruptions have occurred frequently, triggered when the Earth’s plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.

Iceland’s Meteorological Office said a sub-glacial eruption is underway at the Bardarbunga volcano, which has been rattled by thousands of earthquakes over the past week.

According to volcanologist Melissa Pfeffer, seismic data indicates that lava from the volcano is melting ice beneath the Vatnajokull glacier.

She was not sure when, or if, the eruption would melt the ice and send steam and ash into the air.

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