Iceland Raises Volcano Warning Level To Highest Red After Small Eruption

 Bardarbunga volcano
The Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland. Sigtryggur Johannsson/Reuters

A small volcanic eruption has occurred under Iceland’s Dyngjujokull glacier, prompting authorities to raise the warning code for aviation to red, the highest level, Iceland’s meteorological office said on Saturday.

The region, in the center of the North Atlantic island nation, has already been evacuated due to days of heightened seismic activity there.

Bardarbunga volcano
A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano, some 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) away, in the north-west region of the Vatnajokull glacier August 19, 2014. Sigtryggur Johannsson/Reuters

“It is believed that a small subglacial lava-eruption has begun under the Dyngjujokull glacier,” the Icelandic Met Office said. “The aviation colour code for the Bardarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red.”

Ash from the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe’s airspace for six days.

The red code indicates that an eruption is imminent or underway with a significant emission of ash likely.

Brussels-based aviation authority Eurocontrol said that as soon as the volcano had erupted, the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London would produce a regular forecast about the levels of volcanic ash in the atmosphere.

Based on this forecast, civil aviation authorities may issue a notice but it was the responsibility of individual airlines whether they would operate and how they would adapt their flight schedules, Eurocontrol said.

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Robert-Jan Bartunek, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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