Almost two weeks after a swarm of earthquakes began to signal the restless movement of magma beneath the surface of Iceland’s large Bardarbunga volcano, which is itself underneath the huge Vatna glacier, the first visible signs of an eruption were spotted in an area between Bardarbunga and the nearby Askja volcanic system. “An eruption started in Holuhraun north of Dyngjujökull (an outlet glacier on the north end of the larger Vatna glacier) at around 00:02,” writes Iceland’s Meteorological Office at 2:45 a.m. local time Friday. “It is a small fissure eruption and at 02:40 AM the activity appears to have decreased.”Icelandic Police report that the fissure is 300 meters long and that no volcanic ash has been detected by radar so far. The eruption tremors have been mild, which indicates that there is little explosive activity — rather the lava is effusive, meaning it is simply spilling forth from the fissure and pouring over the surface. A triangular section of airspace over the eruption site has been closed, but the country’s main airport in Reykjavik remains open. “We don’t see this having any effect on our flights,” Icelandair press secretary Guðjón Arngrímsson told visir.is. ”At most there will be minor changes. This should not disturb international flights.”Icelandic Coast Guard aircraft are scheduled to take off at 9:30 am Iceland time to conduct more observations. –Forbes
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