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More Powerful Than Eyjafjallajokull

Icelandair cancels flights due to volcanic eruption

Stefan Helgi Valsson, eTN  May 23, 2011

ICELAND (eTN) - An eruption started in Grímsvötn lakes in Vatnajokull glacier yesterday evening in Iceland. The eruption is on a 500- to 800-meter-long fissure, or cauldron, according to geophysicist Magnus Tumi at the University of Iceland.

Sources quoted in the local media say this eruption is much more powerful than the infamous eruption in Eyjafjallajokull, which took place from March through May last year. This said, it is likely not to cause as much trouble to aviation as the eruption in Eyjafjallajokull.

The ash plume has already risen to 20 km above sea level, 4 km higher than in the Eyjafjalljokull eruption last year. However, the ash is grainier which probably means that it won’t travel as far as the ash from Eyjafjallajokull. Latest reports say the eruption is waning.

Iceland’s international airport in Keflavik, 50 km from Reykjavik and 350 km away from the eruption, is closed – some say unnecessarily because there is no ash in the area yet. The airport’s closure caused Icelandair to cancel flights to Iceland this afternoon from Amsterdam, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, and Bergen/Stavanger. As a result, flights from Iceland to Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, Oslo, Washington, Toronto, New York, and Boston are canceled.

During last year’s eruption, flights were redirected to Akureyri airport in the north of Iceland, and Icelandair moved its hub to Glasgow in Scotland. No decision of this kind has been made for the present eruption yet.

Everyone in Iceland is safe, and there is no immediate threat to human lives and man-made structures.

Icelandair cancels flights due to volcanic eruption
Photo byOddur Sigurðsson via

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