Big earthquakes shake Iceland volcano

But so far no ash has appeared that could stop air traffic

Another big earthquake hit the area around the Bárðarbunga volcano in Iceland on Sunday. Lava continues to shoot out of fissures, but so far no ash has appeared that could interfere with air traffic.

The 5.4 magnitude earthquake occurred at 07:08 GMT. Hundreds or even thousands of quakes have been registered daily since August 16, but this was one of the biggest. There was also another quake, magnitude 4.6, at 03:30 GMT.

“Seismic activity underneath Bárðarbunga volcano is still ongoing but remains steady,” Bergthora Thorbjarnardottir, geologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said.

Dangers remain, however. The fissure eruptions have so far taken place on land not covered by ice, but an eruption under an ice cap may be far more explosive and create an ash cloud that could disrupt aviation. The ash warning level for aviation is currently at orange, the second-highest level on a five-level scale.


[pictured: Bárðarbunga caldera; photo courtesy Iceland Geological Survey]


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