A volcanic eruption started in Mt. Eyjafjallajokull glacier in the southwest of Iceland shortly before midnight on Saturday night. About 500 people evacuated the immediate area below the mountain in fear of the area being flooded with melt water from the glacier. All airports within 120 nautical mile radius were immediately closed in accordance with standard safety rules. The present nature of the eruption does not impose threat to people, livestock, buildings, or roads.
Eight hundred passengers of Icelandair and Iceland Express scheduled to leave Iceland Sunday morning were delayed and another 500 Icelandair passengers who left Boston, Orlando, and Seattle on Saturday night were redirected to Boston. Flights from Iceland are expected to be delayed 5 hours and flights from Boston to Iceland 12 hours.
The eruption is of a lava-type and is currently limited to a 500-meter-long fissure on the north side of the 1100-meter-high Fimmvorduhals pass. The pass, which lies beteen Mt. Eyjafjallajokull and Mt. Myrdalsjokull, is one of Iceland‘s most popular hiking routes.
The new lava field is certain to become a tourist attraction for hikers along the Fimmvorduhals hiking trail that usually takes about 10 hours to complete. The trail lies between Skogafoss waterfall, a well known landmark in the South of Iceland and Thorsmork nature reserve north of Skogar.
A volcanic eruption takes place in Iceland every 4-5 years on the average. Mt. Eyjafjallajokull glacier last erupted in 1821.