Friday, August 29, 2014 - 11:59
Schiphol not affected by Iceland volcano eruption
An eruption in the Bardabunga volcano in Iceland has prompted an aviation warning from the Icelandic Met Office. Civil protection officials announce that Air Traffic Control in Iceland has closed the airspace above the eruption. European airports do not seem to be affected by the eruption as of yet, the BBC reports. The fissure eruption started in the lava field north of the Vatnajokull glacier, and spans one kilometer. "The Met Office raised the aviation color code over the eruption site to red", according to a statement from the Department of Civil Protection. Scientists are currently monitoring the eruption from a safe distance, and report that the volcano has been hit by several tremors recently. It still has to be determined whether possible volcanic ash will pose a threat. A coast guard aircraft will survey the site later today. No ash has been detected yet, but the volcano has been spewing white steam. According to the BBC, a statement from the UK Met Office Friday morning advised that the Bardabunga eruption was a lava blast, and that no ash was emitted into the atmosphere. If ash is released, the UK airspace may not be affected for several days due to a favorable wind pattern, though the situation will be monitored. In the last week, Schiphol as well as other European airports have been warned by Iceland about the possibly eruption of Bardabunga, and a code yellow was issued. A spokesperson for Schiphol tells the Algemeen Dagblad that the eruption has not resulted in the cancellation or delays of flights. Geophysicist Bjorn Oddsson, from Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, said that the eruption is mostly "effusive", meaning it is "mostly lava pouring out of the craters right now." Oddsson adds that the only flight restriction is over the area of the Bardabunga volcano. "All airports are open, and things are quite in control." Despite this, scientists are keeping an eye on several "cauldrons" near the volcano that could be a potential sign of an eruption. Bardabunga is part of a large volcanic system. It is hidden underneath a glacier, the Vatnajokull ice cap in central Iceland, which is about 500 meters in thickness. In 2010, Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, spreading clouds of ash that disrupted flights across Europe. It was the largest closure of European airspace since the Second World War.