Iceland volcano still erupts, spews less ash

The Icelandic volcano which grounded air traffic all over Europe is still erupting, but is spewing less ash, the meteorological office and experts said on Wednesday.

Iceland volcano still erupts, spews less ash

The Icelandic volcano which grounded air traffic all over Europe is still erupting, but is spewing less ash, the meteorological office and experts said on Wednesday.

Close monitoring of the neighbouring and potentially more dangerous Katla volcano was also taking place, but there have been no signs it has re-awakened, they added.

"There is ongoing activity in the volcano and we don't see any signs of it coming to an end. There is less ash production, it is probably the same as yesterday," met office official Gudrun Nina Petersen told a news conference.

"The plume is very low, so most of the ash is falling here and keeping itself under 20,000 feet (6,000 metres)," she said.

The volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the capital Reykjavik, has been erupting for almost a week.

It began after a smaller eruption broke out in March, producing mainly lava. That eruption paused shortly before the new one began.

"The amount of ash that is being produced is much less, but it is more polluted," added Sigurdur Gislason of the Institute of Earth Sciences, though he said this ash would mainly be a problem for the near vicinity of the volcano.

He said the main concern about the ash was high levels of fluoride, which could poison livestock for the farmers who live at the foot of the mountain which is topped by the glacier.

Pall Einarsson, also of the Institute of Earth Sciences, said the eruption was not losing force, though its explosivity, which had earlier pushed the plume of ash to levels of 6 km or more, had decreased.

"We don't see any signs of it ending soon and we cannot predict when it will end," he said.

He said the Katla volcano, which last had a major eruption in 1918, was being closely monitored.

Katla is under a much larger glacier which is next to the current eruption and he said history showed that it often followed its next door neighbour in eruption.

"We don't see any signs at the moment that Katla has been re-awakened by this activity, but of course we still have to keep this possibility in mind," he said.

But the potential for damage was greater if Katla did blow.

"Eyjafjallajokull is a rather mild volcano, it is not very fierce. Katla, on the other hand, is a rather fierce volcano, it is highly active and it's dangerous," he said.


Reuters

Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2010, 13:40
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