TIME Iceland

Eruption Causes Iceland to Temporarily Close Airspace

Warning sign blocks  road to Bardarbunga volcano in north-west region of Vatnajokull glacier
A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano in the north-west region of the Vatnajokull glacier, Iceland on Aug. 19, 2014. Reuters

Following thousands of earthquakes, Iceland has been watching a volcanic site for more than a week.

Iceland closed airspace near an erupting volcano Friday, according to its Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. Initially, the department closed airspace up to 18,000 feet near the Bardarbunga volcano, but it later reduced that ceiling to 5,000 feet after an investigation found the eruption produced little of the airborne ash that’s dangerous to aircraft.

Icelandic scientists have been watching the Bardarbunga area closely over the last week after thousands of earthquakes rocked the area, indicating the potential for the kind of ash-producing eruption that could seriously impact global air travel. Back in 2010, thousands of flights were delayed following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

Iceland has recently raised its aviation alert level to red at least twice, only to later reduce it after ash clouds were found to be minimal. The Ministry of Civil protection has been posting regular updates about Iceland’s seismic and volcanic activity on its social media pages:

All Icelandic airports are currently operating as normal.

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