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Eruption at Eyjafjallajökull becomes “more explosive”

The Eyjafjallajökull eruption has become more explosive over the last day, prompting new closures of airspace over Ireland and the UK.

nA shot of the strombolian activity at the vent of Eyjafjallajökull, taken on May 4, 2010. Image courtesy of the Iceland Met Office.


The latest news from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption has the volcano erupting more explosively again (see above), possibly due to an increased influx of water into the vent area – in any case, the ash has become denser (by volume in the air) and the plume is higher (see below) than in the last couple of weeks. The rate of lava flow extrusion has also gone down in the last few days. The latest update from the Iceland Met Office has a lot of details on the current activity thanks to some flights over the volcano:


Plume was observed at 5.8-6 km height (19-20,000 ft) estimated from the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) flight at 10:40 and 15:30 GMT. It is heading east-south-east to south-east from the eruption site. Plume track clearly visible up to 300-400 km distance from the eruption site on a NOAA satellite image at 13:13 GMT.nn

Water levels have been rather constant. Water temperature at Markarfljot bridge was low this morning (below 2°C) but seems to be rising (about 5°C at noon). Water level seems to be slightly decreasing.


Lava is still flowing northwards, forming a lava fall down the steep hill under Gígjökull, about 4 km north of the crater. Blue gas is seen rising from the lava and white steam plumes are seen somewhat lower and mark the front of the lava stream. The size of the eruptive crater is 280 x 190 m. Lava splashes are thrown at least a few hundred meters into the air.


The overflights of the volcano produced two great image galleries of the current eruption, both worth checking out. You can see some video on the current eruption in this BBC article, while IceNews has an interview with Dr. Ari Trausti Gudmundsson on the volcano and this eruption. As always, you can get caught up on the day’s activity at Eyjafjallajökull by checking out Philipp’s excellent time lapse video from the vodafon webcam. The upshot of this new activity is that more airspace over Ireland and the northern UK (Scotland) have been closed due to the threat of ash in the atmosphere. Right now, it is unclear when the airports might reopen, but the current ash advisory suggests it might not be today for Ireland at least (none of which is good news for the EU airlines primarily affected by this eruption.)


nThe eruption plume from Eyjafjallajökull, taken from an Icelandic Coast Guard aircraft on May 4, 2010. Image courtesy of the Icelandic Met Office.


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