Mail Online reporting this evening: “Part of Iceland was evacuated yesterday amid growing fears that the country’s Bardarbunga volcano is about to erupt. Airlines were on high alert as the centre of the island was hit by an earthquake every minute, signalling increased seismic activity below the volcano.
If Bardarbunga erupts travel companies have been warned to prepare for a repeat of the chaos seen when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano blew in 2010. A huge dust cloud shut down much of Europe’s airspace for six days, grounding 100,000 flights and affecting more than ten million people.
At around 3am yesterday between 300 and 500 people, mostly visitors, were ordered to leave the highlands north of Bardarbunga, after 300 earthquakes shook the area in just three hours. Tourists have been banned from visiting the area, which is popular with hikers, and all roads are closed.
Authorities said an eruption might cause the Vatnajökull glacier – one of the largest in Europe – which covers the volcano, to melt, causing mass flooding. Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency said: ‘It cannot be ruled out that the seismic activity in Bardarbunga could lead to a volcanic eruption. The area is now closed and has been evacuated.’ It added: ‘These security measures have been taken since it would not be possible to evacuate the area in time should a sub-glacial outburst flood occur from Vatnajökull as a result of an eruption.’
Iceland issued a ‘code orange’ alert – the second highest risk level – to airlines on Tuesday, warning of possible disruption.
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