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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Volcano eruption begins in Iceland

REYKJAVIK - The Grimsvoetn volcano under Iceland's largest glacier began erupting Saturday, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said, reporting a tall plume of smoke rising from the crater.

"An eruption at Grimsvoetn has started and there's an airplane on its way there now to investigate further," Haraldur Eirkisson of the office told AFP.

"There was a cloud rising up from Grimsvoetn around 1900 GMT and at just before 2000 GMT it had reached an altitude of 11 kilometres (6.8 miles)," he added.

Grimsvoetn is Iceland's most active volcano, having erupted nine times between 1922 and 2004. It lies beneath the Vatnajoekull glacier in the southeast of the North Atlantic island nation.

The eruption in April last year of Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano, southwest of Grimsvoetn, shut down large swathes of European airspace for almost a month amid fears the volcanic ash could wreak havoc on aircraft engines.

No two volcanic eruptions are the same, and it remained unclear late Saturday if the new eruption threatened to emit a similar kind of ash -- fine, with very sharp particles -- like the massive plume that burst from Eyjafjoell.

The problem with last year's eruption, according to the researchers, was that it happened under a glacier, bursting through 200-300 metres (yards) of ice.

We shall have to wait to see if this new volcano eruption will affect flights to europe and of course, flights to France.

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