After that, many further vapour explosions occurred. Fearing the damage to commercial aircraft and potential loss of life that could result from flying through the ash cloud, many European countries closed their national airspace and grounded flights for several days. The erupting lava cooled very fast, which created a cloud of highly abrasive, glass-rich ash. John P. Rafferty writes about Earth processes and the environment. Its summit is 1,651 meters above sea level. [7], Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatl̥aˌjœːkʏtl] (listen)) is one of Iceland's smaller ice caps located in the far south of the island. The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were volcanic events at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland which, although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe over an initial period of six days in April 2010. At 250 ppm, death can occur within a few days. The Institute of Earth Sciences[60] made a preliminary estimate of erupted material in the first three days of the eruption on 14 April 2010 at Eyjafjallajökull. [13] The Civil Protection Department[14] of the Icelandic Police produced regular reports about access to the area, including a map of the restricted area around Eyjafjallajokull, from which the public was forbidden. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption sequence of 2010, which lasted from January until May of that year, began with the onset of clusters of small earthquakes, and by early March the earthquake activity had increased in intensity and frequency. Where ash fall was significant, all horses had to be sheltered indoors. The eruption started on 20 March. This indicates that the rate at which magma was flowing into the magma chamber roughly equaled the rate at which it was being lost due to the eruption, giving evidence that this phase of volcanic activity reached equilibrium. 2.5.2010. [18] However, during the night of 22 March, they reported some volcanic ash fall reaching the Fljótshlíð area (20 to 25 km (12 to 16 mi) north-west of the eruption's location)[19] and Hvolsvöllur town (40 kilometres (25 mi) north-west of the eruption location)[19] leaving vehicles with a fine, grey layer of volcanic ash. Most Recent Weekly Report: 27 October-2 November 2010 Cite this Report. This was the highest plume since the eruption started. [49], After a short hiatus in eruptive activity, and a large increase in seismic activity 23:00 on 13 April and 1:00 on 14 April, a new set of craters opened early in the morning of 14 April 2010 under the volcano's ice-covered central summit caldera. An eruption began in South Iceland in late evening of 20 March 2010 at the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic system (also known as Eyjafjöll volcano – Global Volcanism Program Volcano number 1702-02=). Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, is situated just 160km west of where Eyjafjallajökull erupted. [76][77] Other notable volcanic eruptions in recent years include the eruption of Mount Pinatubo of 1991 of VEI 6. As of 15 April, the eruption was not large enough to have an effect on global temperatures like that of Mount Pinatubo and other major past volcanic eruptions. Agriculture is important in this region of Iceland,[51] and farmers near the volcano have been warned not to let their livestock drink from contaminated streams and water sources,[52] as high concentrations of fluoride can have deadly renal and hepatic effects, particularly in sheep. The eruption happened underneath an ice sheet. Eyjafjallajökull first erupted on March 20, 2010, in a fiery display that sent fountains of lava shooting high into the air and ribbons of lava flowing down cliff faces. It was the highest level of air travel disruption since World War 2. The massive volcanic plumes released on the 14th of April 2010, covered almost the entirety of Northern Europe and forced more than 20 countries to close their airspace. He serves currently as the editor of Earth and life sciences, covering climatology, geology, zoology, and other topics that relate to... What is the highest mountain range in South America? [21], By 26 February 2010, the global positioning system (GPS) equipment used by the Iceland Meteorological Office[22] at Þorvaldseyri farm in the Eyjafjöll area (around 15 km (9.3 mi) south-east of the location of the recent eruption)[19] had shown 3 cm of displacement of the local crust in a southward direction, of which a 1-cm displacement had taken place within four days. The first phase of the 2010 eruption began late on the evening of 20 March at the Eyjafjallajökull. Shortly afterward, the water level returned to normal and water temperature decreased. The series of events that marked its latest eruption began on March 10, 2010 and continued for 23 days. Due to the large quantities of dry volcanic ash lying on the ground, surface winds frequently lifted up an "ash mist" that significantly reduced visibility and made web camera observation of the volcano impossible. Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland. The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 lasted for 39 days, 14 April–23 May. The recent eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull and the largest ash plume associated with the second eruption phase were not unparalleled in either volume or abundance; however, the location was the critical factor because it affected air travel across Europe. [50] The concentration of water-soluble fluoride was one-third of the concentration typical in Hekla eruptions, with a mean value of 104 mg of fluoride per kg of ash. Situated to the north of Skógar and to the west of the larger ice cap Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull covers the caldera of a volcano 1,666 m (5,466 ft) high, which has erupted relatively frequently since the last ice age. The earthquake swarm was followed by the onset of a seismic eruption tremor. Published Mar 29, 2010 Land Volcanoes Deformation was occurring at rates up to a centimetre a day since 4 March at various GPS sites installed within 12 km (7.5 mi) from the eruptive site. The volcano's explosive power was enough to inject ash directly into the jet stream. The heat from the lava quickly melted and vaporized the glacier ice above. Big floods (… Eyjafjallajökull has erupted in the years 920, 1612, 1821 and 2010. The eruption began on 20th March 2010 and ended 7 months later in October 2010. [4] Seismic data showed that the frequency and intensity of earth tremors still exceeded the levels observed before the eruption, therefore scientists at the Icelandic Meteorological Office[5] (IMO) and the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland[6] (IES) continued to monitor the volcano. By the evening of 6 June 2010, a small, new crater had opened up on the west side of the main crater. [74][75] One previous related sequence of eruptions of this volcano, beginning in 1821 is recorded as having lasted for over two years, but no single set of major eruptions is known to have lasted more than 'several days'. The plume was driven southeast, across the North Atlantic Ocean to northern Europe, by the prevailing winds. About 20 countries closed their airspace to commercial jet traffic and it affected approximately 10 million travellers. Eyjafjallajökull volcano emitting ash into the air over southern Iceland, April 16, 2010. IES also noted that the eruption continue with less explosive activity. [53], The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority released an announcement on 18 April 2010, asking that all horse owners who keep their herds outside be on the alert for ash fall. The 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano had a huge impact on air travel, changing the assessment of risk by the aviation sector and catalyzing new lines of scientific investigation. By the morning of 24 May 2010, the view from the web camera installed on Þórólfsfell[57] showed only a plume of water vapour surrounded by a bluish haze caused by emission of sulphurous gases. Lace your climbing boots tight, because this quiz will test whether you can conquer the highest peaks of knowledge. [46] Many witnesses were present while the new fissure opened. The effects of the volcanic eru… More than 100 million cubic meters of lava erupted, more than 1000 million cubic meters of tephra erupted. This was 10–20 times the average discharge rate in the preceding flank eruption at Fimmvörðuháls. [9] On 20 April 2010 Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson said, "the time for Katla to erupt is coming close ... we [Iceland] have prepared ... it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption."[10]. The latter eruption continued intermittently for nearly 14 months. [17], The radar stations of the Meteorological Institute of Iceland did not detect any appreciable amount of volcanic ashfall during the first 24 hours of the eruption. By way of comparison, the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980 was rated as 5 on the VEI, and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo was rated as a 6. The second phase was estimated to be a VEI 4 eruption, which was large, but not nearly the most powerful eruption possible by volcanic standards. [54] The thick layer of ash that had fallen on some Icelandic pastures and farms at Raufarfell had become wet and compact, making it very difficult to continue farming, harvesting, or grazing livestock.[55]. Beginning on 14 April 2010, the eruption entered a second phase and created an ash cloud that led to the closure of most of the European IFR airspace from 15 until 20 April 2010. Explosive activity from this new crater was observed with emission of small quantities of ash. [12], This volcanic activity so disruptive to air travel because of a combination of factors:[citation needed]. Large-scale release of sulphur dioxide into the troposphere also poses a potential health risk, especially to people with pre-existing breathing disorders. Instead, the police closed the road to Þórsmörk and the four-wheel-drive trail from Skógar village to the Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass, but these roads and trails were reopened on 29 March, though only for suitable four-wheel drive vehicles. The eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland were a series of volcanic activities from March to June of 2010. (See the GPS Time Series[23] page of the Nordic Volcanological Center's[24] website for detailed information on the degree of movement detected in the Earth's crust in the Eyjafjallajökull locality. (First eruption on 20 March 2010). It further indicated that the locations of most of the earthquakes in 2009 occurred between 8 to 12 km (5.0 to 7.5 mi) depth east of the volcano's top crater. Composite map of the volcanic ash cloud spanning 14–25 April 2010, Volume of erupted material and magma discharge, Short- and long-term weather and environmental effects, Measurements made by using maps and measurement tools from Fasteignaskrá Íslandskort, Meteorological Institute of Iceland: Eruption in Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass, Kvöldfréttir Stöðvar Tvö "Viðtal við Ármann Höskuldsson eldfjallafræðing", 2010 eruption series in the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic system, Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, Air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, knock on impact on the economy and cultural events, previous related sequence of eruptions of this volcano, beginning in 1821, Effects of the April 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, "Volcanic eruptions: Science and Risk Management", "Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull Status Report: 11:00 GMT, 7 June 2010", "Eruption in Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull Over", "Eruption in Iceland – frequently asked questions", "Iceland prepares for second, more devastating volcanic eruption", "BBC Newsnight interview with President Grímsson of Iceland, 20 April 2010", "Scientists picture Icelandic volcano's 'plumbing, "Eruption at the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic system", "Seismic Signs of Magma Pathways through the Crust in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, South Iceland", "Jarðskjálftahrina undir Eyjafjallajökli", "GPS time series for Eyjafjallajökull and Katla Volcano", UNEP Year Book2011, An Overview of Our Changing Environment, "Caistor children flee as Iceland volcano erupts | Grimsby Telegraph", Volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallaglacier – flights to Iceland are on hold, "Fyrsta vél frá Boston í loftið klukkan hálf fimm", "Litlar líkur taldar á öðru gosi við Eyjafjallajökul", "Volcano Erupts Under Eyjafjallajökull – The Reykjavik Grapevine", "Gosið enn í gangi – Farið að bera á öskufalli", "Ný gossprunga – skráð 01.04.2010 kl. From 14–20 April, ash from the volcanic eruption covered large areas of Northern Europe. Iceland has several volcanoes and is situated on two tectonic plates – the North American plate and Eurasian plate. [8] Previous eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have been followed by eruptions at its larger neighbour, Katla. The view of the eruption from Þórólfsfel also includes a thermal imaging camera. The Icelandic flag carrier airline, Icelandair, seemed at first especially vulnerable, but managed to deal effectively with the eruption and subsequently published a detailed report about its actions and conclusions. With the first eruption occurring on March 20, 2010, there was little explosive activity but some production of … [72] The effect also spread beyond Iceland. Cold water from melted ice quickly chilled the lava, causing it to fragment into highly abrasive glass particles that were then carried into the eruption plume. The crater at the top is 4 km across. [62], No human fatalities were reported from the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. [63] Six months later, the population living in the area had more respiratory symptoms than a control group from North Iceland, with no ashfall. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). From 14–20 April, ash from the volcanic eruption covered large areas of Northern Europe. [3] By 21 May 2010, the second eruption phase had subsided to the point that no further lava or ash was being produced. While some ash fell on uninhabited areas in Iceland, most had been carried by westerly winds resulting in the shutdown of large air space over Europe. In March 2010 a small eruption started close to the famoushiking trail Fimmvörðuháls. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 had a huge impact on the aviation industry in Europe (Donovan & Oppenheimer, 2010). [41][42][43], On 25 March 2010, while studying the eruption, scientists witnessed, for the first time in history, the formation of a pseudocrater during a steam explosion. [73] Ash from the current Eyjafjallajökull eruption contains one-third the concentration typical in Hekla eruptions, with a mean value of 104 mg of fluoride per kg of ash. In addition to volcanic ash being very hazardous to aircraft,[56] the location of this eruption directly under the jet stream ensured that the ash was carried into the heavily used airspace over northern and central Europe. The lava was alkali olivine basalt[40] and was relatively viscous, causing the motion of the lava stream to the west and east of the fissure to be slow. [67][68] The presence and location of the plume depends upon the state of the eruption and the winds. The initial visual report of the eruption was at 23:52 GMT, when a red cloud was seen at the north slopes of Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass,[38][39] lighting up the sky above the eruptive site. On 14 April 2010, however, the eruption entered an explosive phase and ejected fine glass-rich ash to over 8 km (5.0 mi) into the atmosphere. Additional localised disruption continued into May 2010. From the initial eruptive activity at Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010, that was a lava producing eruption 20 March - 12 April, preceding the explosive eruption. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in May 2010 resulted in the grounding of thousands of flights all over Europe. A 500-meter- (2,000-foot) long fissure opened in the Fimmvörduháls pass to the west of the ice-covered summit of Eyjafjallajökull. The resulting meltwater flowed back into the erupting volcano, which created two specific phenomena: The rapidly vaporising water significantly increased the eruption's explosive power. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption produced very little lava, but huge quantities of glass-rich ash which was ejected into the atmosphere. On March 21, fountains of lava began exiting through a 0.3-mile- (500-metre-) long vent in the ice-free Fimmvörduháls Pass, which separates the Eyjafjallajökull glacier from the larger glacier Mýrdalsjökull to the east. The ash plume that was created reached a height of 11 km. The eruption is thought to have begun on 20 March 2010, about 8 km (5 mi) east of the top crater of the volcano, on Fimmvörðuháls, the high neck between Eyjafjallajökull and the … A short time-lapse from 17 April 2010. Records kept since Iceland was settled show that Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 920, 1612 or 1613, and 1821–23. Craters in autumn. [69], At the mouth of the crater, the gases, ejecta, and volcanic plume have created a rare weather phenomenon known as volcanic lightning (or a "dirty thunderstorm"). The erupted products were fragmented material, the majority fine-grained airborne tephra. [33][34][35], On 22 March, a flow meter device in the Krossá glacial river (which drains Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers) in the Þórsmörk area (a few kilometres north-west of the erupting location) started to record a sudden rise in water level and water temperature – the total water temperature rose by 6 °C (11 °F) over a two-hour period, which had never happened so quickly in the Krossá river since measurements began. High-fluoride Hekla eruptions pose a threat to foraging livestock, especially sheep. The most recent major eruptions occurred in 920, 1612, and from 1821 to 1823. The temperature of Hruná river, which flows through the narrow Hrunárgil canyon, into which part of the lava stream was flowing, was recently recorded by geologists to be between 50 and 60 °C (122 and 140 °F), indicating that the river was cooling the lava in that canyon.[37]. Eyjafjallajökull volcano, also called Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjalla volcano, Eyjafjöll, or Eyjafjalla Glacier volcano, subglacial volcano, southern Iceland, lying within the country’s East Volcanic Zone. Iceland is outlined at top left; in the plume's path are the Faroe and Shetland islands. [26], The grounding of European flights avoided about 3.44×108 kg of CO2 emissions per day, while the volcano emitted about 1.5×108 kg of CO2 per day.[27]. This photo was taken at sunrise on a Saturday morning in October, by Ólafur Sigurjónsson who lives in Forsæti III nearby and has done frequent flying across the eruptive area. An ash-loaded eruption plume rose to more than 8 km (5.0 mi), deflected to the east by westerly winds. The eruption was explosive and much bigger then the eruption in Fimmvörðuháls. [citation needed], Samples of volcanic ash collected near the eruption showed a silica concentration of 58%—much higher than in the lava flows. A 500 metre fissure opened up. The study reported increased activity that occurred between June and August 2009 (200 events), compared to a total of about 250 earthquakes recorded between September 2006 and August 2009. On April 14, lava from new fissures surfaced beneath the crater of the glacier-covered summit. [25] The seismic activity continued to increase, and from 3 to 5 March, close to 3,000 earthquakes were measured having their epicentre at the volcano. [1], Seismic activity started at the end of 2009 and gradually increased in intensity until on 20 March 2010, a small eruption began, rated as a 1 on the volcanic explosivity index.[2]. The Faroe and Shetland islands affected approximately 10 million passengers left stranded the. And eye irritation did not melt pre-existing breathing disorders collide with one another they! Eyjafjallajökull have been followed by eruptions at its larger neighbour, Katla signing up for this region. 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