Powerful Icelandic volcano could be about to erupt again, experts warn

Powerful Icelandic volcano could be about to erupt again, experts warn
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Grímsvötn, the Icelandic volcano that caused travel chaos nine years ago, is on the verge of erupting again, experts have warned.

The last time it went off back in 2011 it created ash clouds – causing the cancellation of around 900 flights.

Scientists last week recorded ‘seismic activity’ – meaning magma is swelling and could bring unwanted movement.

Now, authorities have raised the Aviation Colour Code from green to yellow.

That means there is a level of concern over a future eruption.

Volcano expert Dave McGarvie, who works at at the University of Lancaster, wrote in  The Conversation : “Increasing thermal activity has been melting more ice and there has also been a recent increase in earthquake activity.

Grimsvotn sent thousands of tonnes of volcanic ash into the sky on May 23, 2011

“Ash clouds therefore only travel a few tens of kilometres from the eruption site.

“This is a good scenario for Icelanders and also for air travel, as it prevents the formation of substantial ash clouds that could drift around and close off airspace.”

The Icelandic Met Office said raising the threat level did not automatically mean it was about to blow again.

But they added: “Multiple datasets now indicate that Grímsvötn volcano has reached a level of unrest.”

Last time it did blow it caused travel chaos for thousands

Grímsvötn could rise further up the four-level scale if more seismic activity is detected by experts.

Thankfully, it is less powering than the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which erupted in 2010 and caused 100,000 flights to be cancelled.

Grímsvötn is almost entirely covered by thick ice.

That means the eruptions for this one aren’t usually as bad as some more volatile volcanos.

However, it is the most active on the island – and locals are concerned it may go again.

In December, New Zealand was hit when an active andesite stratovolcano exploded on White Island.

There were 47 people on the island at the time. Twenty-one people were killed, including two who are missing and declared dead.

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