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Sunday 21 September 2014

Experts still watching Bardarbunga volcano after intense series of earthquakes

Published 19/08/2014 | 13:03

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The ash cloud coming from the erupting volcano in Iceland caused havoc for travellers across Europe.

Icelandic experts are still watching Bardarbunga for possible signs of eruption after an intense series of earthquakes under the volcano.

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A total of 2,600 earthquakes have been detected under Iceland's largest volcanic system since Saturday.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office declared an orange aviation alert (the second highest on its five-grade scale) and confirmed that the risk of an eruption had increased yesterday.

Seismic activity remains active at the site today, with the events remaining 5-10km below the surface at the moment.

Bardarbunga is Iceland's largest volcanic system, located under the ice cap of the Vatnajokull glacier in the southwest of Iceland. It is in a different range to Eyjafjallajokull.

UKS's Met Office seismologist Martin Hensch said the risk of any disruptive ash cloud similar to the one in 2010 would depend on how high any ash would be thrown, how much there would be and how fine-grained it would be.

The Met Office said in a statement it measured the strongest earthquake in the region since 1996 early on Monday and it had now strong indications of ongoing magma movement.

"As evidence of magma movement shallower than 10 km implies increased potential of a volcanic eruption, the Bardarbunga aviation colour code has been changed to orange," it said.

"Presently there are no signs  of eruption, but it cannot be excluded that the current activity will result in an explosive subglacial eruption, leading to an outburst flood and ash emission."

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