Iceland closes main airport over volcano eruption

Iceland closed its main international airport on Sunday after a volcano eruption that sent a plume of ash and smoke high into the air.

Iceland’s airport and air traffic control operator Isavia said that Keflavik airport was closed to all inbound and outbound traffic at 8:30 a.m. local time.

“The ash is covering all of Iceland,” Isavia spokeswoman Hjordis Gudmundsdottir said.

The Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland’s most active Vatnajokull glacier started to erupt in the late hours of Saturday.

The volcano showed clear signs of “volcanic unrest” at around 18:00 GMT on Saturday, with Icelandic media quoting geologist Hjorleifur Sveinbjornsson as saying the eruption was imminent. Plumes of ash and smoke were seen rising from the crater an hour later. The volcanic cloud reached the height of 20,000 meters.

The eruption on the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier in Iceland, which began on April 14, 2010, paralyzed air traffic throughout central and northern Europe, leaving thousands of travelers stranded and forcing more than 20 European countries to close their airspace.

The Vatnajokull area is the most active volcano location in Iceland. Since records began in 1920, it has erupted nine times, the previous eruption recorded in 2004. Most of them lasted at least one week, but the 2004 eruption took only four days.

MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti) 

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