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Iceland is about to explode as seismologists warn massive volcanic eruption could be imminent


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The last time the volcano in question erupted in 2011, it led to the closure of Reykjavik Keflavik airport and caused the cancellation of around 900 flights to Europe.

Grimsvotn, Iceland’s most active volcano, may be on the verge of another eruption, with seismologists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office reporting a sharp increase in seismic activity.

On October 1

, authorities have already increased the threat level of the aviation color code related to volcanic activity from green (“the volcano is in a normal, non-eruptive state”) to yellow (“the volcano is experiencing signs of high disorders compared to known background levels “).

Seismologists pointed out that the high level of threat wasn’t necessarily an indication that an eruption was imminent, but they covered their bets by noting that “multiple datasets now indicate that Grimsvotn volcano has reached a level of unrest. comparable to that observed before historical eruptions “. Soil deformation levels in the area are said to have already surpassed those observed before the 2011 eruption.

It has been nine years since Grimsvotn’s last eruption, with the volcano usually erupting every five to ten years, experiencing at least 65 eruptions over the past eight hundred years.

The potential eruption is bad news for commercial airlines, which are already reeling from losses caused by coronavirus-related restrictions. The Icelandic volcanoes, strategically located between Europe and North America, are famous for their ability to cause problems for transatlantic travel.

In addition to the 2011 eruption of Grimsvotn, which sent toxic and potentially deadly soot and ash up to 20km into the atmosphere, the 2010 eruption of another Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, caused the cancellation of approximately 100,000 flights and left about 8 million passengers stranded.

Photo: Benjamin Pothier

Grimsvotn volcano in the middle of the Icecap Iceland

Volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous to aircraft, not only because it can obscure pilots’ view of their surroundings, but also because of their ability to damage or even destroy aircraft themselves through the tiny rock particles it is made of. the ash.

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