Late on 20 March 2010 an eruption began at Fimmvörðuháls, an area around 1,000 m elevation in a ~ 2-km-wide pass of ice-free land between Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. The 2010 eruption caused the most widespread air travel disruption for 65 years. While some ash fell on uninhabited areas in Iceland, most had been carried by westerly winds resulting in the shutdown of large air space over Europe. Unlike the earlier eruption phase, the second phase occurred beneath glacial ice. Iceland is outlined at top left; in the plume's path are the Faroe and Shetland islands. Update on activity in Eyjafjallajökull 2010 Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. The initial eruption caused a 500 metre fissure in a nearby pass. In these three cases the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano occurred simultaneously with or was shortly followed by the eruption of Katla, a volcano located some 15.5 miles (25 km) to the east. The erupted products were fragmented material, the majority fine-grained airborne tephra. This, with the abundant water-ice at the summit, aids in making lightning.. An ash-loaded eruption plume rose to more than 8 km (5.0 mi), deflected to the east by westerly winds. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. About 20 countries closed their airspace to commercial jet traffic and it affected approximately 10 million travellers. Immediately before the eruption, the depth of the seismicity had become shallow, but was not significantly enhanced from what it had been in the previous weeks. Abo… Consequently, a very high proportion of flights within, to, and from Europe were cancelled, creating the highest level of air travel disruption since the Second World War. The massive volcanic plumes released on the 14th of April 2010, covered almost the entirety of Northern Europe and forced more than 20 countries to close their airspace. Cold water from melted ice quickly chilled the lava, causing it to fragment into highly abrasive glass particles that were then carried into the eruption plume. The eruption, rather than taking place under the ice cap of the glacier, occurred in the mountain pass between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers. At 250 ppm, death can occur within a few days. Plume from Eyjafjallajökull volcano (tan streak) moving southeast over the North Atlantic Ocean, April 15, 2010. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption produced very little lava, but huge quantities of glass-rich ash which was ejected into the atmosphere. With the first eruption occurring on March 20, 2010, there was little explosive activity but some production of … Craters in autumn. Read more: TV Show "60 Minutes" Captures the Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. Although the volcanic eruptions were relatively small, the effects had a hugely debilitating impact on the European airline industry. (See the GPS Time Series page of the Nordic Volcanological Center's website for detailed information on the degree of movement detected in the Earth's crust in the Eyjafjallajökull locality. The eruption began on 20th March 2010 and ended 7 months later in October 2010. From 14–20 April, ash from the volcanic eruption covered large areas of Northern Europe. An eruption began in South Iceland in late evening of 20 March 2010 at the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic system (also known as Eyjafjöll volcano – Global Volcanism Program Volcano number 1702-02=). In March 2010 a small eruption started close to the famoushiking trail Fimmvörðuháls. By way of comparison, the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980 was rated as 5 on the VEI, and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo was rated as a 6. The eruption was explosive and much bigger then the eruption in Fimmvörðuháls. This indicates that the rate at which magma was flowing into the magma chamber roughly equaled the rate at which it was being lost due to the eruption, giving evidence that this phase of volcanic activity reached equilibrium. In which country are the Southern Alps located? Its summit is 1,651 meters above sea level. The Eyjafjallajökull volcanic event has so far exhibited four different stages: an effusive stage followed by a brief quiescence, an explosive stage and a further quiescent stage. On April 14, lava from new fissures surfaced beneath the crater of the glacier-covered summit. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in May 2010 resulted in the grounding of thousands of flights all over Europe. The eruption was declared officially over in October 2010, when snow on the glacier did not melt. Additional localised disruption continued into May 2010. The latter eruption continued intermittently for nearly 14 months. The eruption was declared officially over in October 2010, when snow on the glacier did not melt. Eyjafjallajökull first erupted on March 20, 2010, in a fiery display that sent fountains of lava shooting high into the air and ribbons of lava flowing down cliff faces. On 20th March 2010, Eyjafjallajökull burst into life after nearly 190 years of inactivity. It was a bit smaller, around 300 m (980 ft) long according to witnesses, and lava coming from it started to flow into Hvannárgil canyon. From 14–20 April, ash from the volcanic eruption covered large areas of Northern Europe. Expanding gases from the rapid vaporization of ice started a series of moderate phreatomagmatic explosions (which result from the contact of water and magma) that sent a plume of steam and ash almost 7 miles (11 km) into the atmosphere.  By 21 May 2010, the second eruption phase had subsided to the point that no further lava or ash was being produced.  Smoke and ash from eruptions reduce visibility for visual navigation, and microscopic debris in the ash can sandblast windscreens and melt in the heat of aircraft turbine engines, damaging engines and making them shut down. Its name is derived from an Icelandic phrase meaning “the island’s mountain glacier,” and the volcano itself lies beneath Eyjafjallajökull (Eyjafjalla Glacier). The erupting lava cooled very fast, which created a cloud of highly abrasive, glass-rich ash. Corrections? Situated to the north of Skógar and to the west of the larger ice cap Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull covers the caldera of a volcano 1,666 m (5,466 ft) high, which has erupted relatively frequently since the last ice age. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 920, 1612 and again from 1821 to 1823 when it caused a glacial lake outburst flood (or jökulhlaup). ), This unusual seismic activity, along with the rapid movement of the Earth's crust in the area, gave geophysicists evidence that magma was flowing from underneath the crust into Eyjafjallajökull's magma chamber and that pressure stemming from the process caused (in geophysical terms) the huge crustal displacement at Þorvaldseyri farm. , This volcanic activity so disruptive to air travel because of a combination of factors:. Explosive eruptive phase of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland, begins 14 April 2010. The second phase resulted in an estimated 250 million cubic metres (330,000,000 cu yd) (0.25 km3) of ejected tephra and an ash plume that rose to a height around 9 km (5.6 mi), which rates the explosive power of the eruption as a 4 on the volcanic explosivity index. On 14 April 2010, however, the eruption entered an explosive phase and ejected fine glass-rich ash to over 8 km (5.0 mi) into the atmosphere. The first phase of the 2010 eruption began late on the evening of 20 March at the Eyjafjallajökull.  At the end of December 2009, seismic activity began around the Eyjafjallajökull volcano area, with thousands of small earthquakes (mostly of magnitude 1–2 Mw), 7 to 10 km (4.3 to 6.2 mi) beneath the volcano. After that, many further vapour explosions occurred. Records kept since Iceland was settled show that Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 920, 1612 or 1613, and 1821–23. Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland. , On 22 March, a flow meter device in the Krossá glacial river (which drains Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers) in the Þórsmörk area (a few kilometres north-west of the erupting location) started to record a sudden rise in water level and water temperature – the total water temperature rose by 6 °C (11 °F) over a two-hour period, which had never happened so quickly in the Krossá river since measurements began. Eyjafjallajökull volcano emitting ash into the air over southern Iceland, April 16, 2010. The first eruption phase ejected olivine basaltic andesite lava several hundred metres into the air in what is known as an effusive eruption. This photo was taken at sunrise on a Saturday morning in October, by Ólafur Sigurjónsson who lives in Forsæti III nearby and has done frequent flying across the eruptive area. The heat from the lava quickly melted and vaporized the glacier ice above. By the morning of 24 May 2010, the view from the web camera installed on Þórólfsfell showed only a plume of water vapour surrounded by a bluish haze caused by emission of sulphurous gases. , The IES updated the eruption flow rate on 21 April 2010 to an estimation less than 30 cubic metres per second (1,100 cu ft/s) of magma, or 75 tonnes/s, with a large uncertainty. It erupted again beginning on April 14 and sent wandering ash plumes into the skies that disrupted air traffic for days across northern and central Europe.… All ash dispersion models for this geographic region were produced by the VAAC in London. The Icelandic flag carrier airline, Icelandair, seemed at first especially vulnerable, but managed to deal effectively with the eruption and subsequently published a detailed report about its actions and conclusions. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The initial visual report of the eruption was at 23:52 GMT, when a red cloud was observed at the volcano, lightening up the sky above the eruptive site. High-fluoride Hekla eruptions pose a threat to foraging livestock, especially sheep. A 500 metre fissure opened up. Eyjafjallajökull has erupted in the years 920, 1612, 1821 and 2010.  The presence and location of the plume depends upon the state of the eruption and the winds. Its highest point rises to 5,466 feet (1,666 metres) above sea level. At around 07:00 on 22 March, an explosion launched eruption columns as far as 4 km (2.5 mi) straight up into the air. Due to the large quantities of dry volcanic ash lying on the ground, surface winds frequently lifted up an "ash mist" that significantly reduced visibility and made web camera observation of the volcano impossible.  One previous related sequence of eruptions of this volcano, beginning in 1821 is recorded as having lasted for over two years, but no single set of major eruptions is known to have lasted more than 'several days'. It further indicated that the locations of most of the earthquakes in 2009 occurred between 8 to 12 km (5.0 to 7.5 mi) depth east of the volcano's top crater. The eruption is thought to have begun on 20 March 2010, about 8 km (5 mi) east of the top crater of the volcano, on Fimmvörðuháls, the high neck between Eyjafjallajökull and the … Fearing the damage to commercial aircraft and potential loss of life that could result from flying through the ash cloud, many European countries closed their national airspace and grounded flights for several days. The temperature of Hruná river, which flows through the narrow Hrunárgil canyon, into which part of the lava stream was flowing, was recently recorded by geologists to be between 50 and 60 °C (122 and 140 °F), indicating that the river was cooling the lava in that canyon.. The second phase was estimated to be a VEI 4 eruption, which was large, but not nearly the most powerful eruption possible by volcanic standards. The effects of the volcanic eru… , Seismic activity started at the end of 2009 and gradually increased in intensity until on 20 March 2010, a small eruption began, rated as a 1 on the volcanic explosivity index..  In Scotland, the number of phone calls to health services for respiratory and eye irritation did not rise significantly. Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced “AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul”) Volcano roared to life on April 14, 2010, injecting billowing clouds of steam and volcanic ash into the atmosphere. , The radar stations of the Meteorological Institute of Iceland did not detect any appreciable amount of volcanic ashfall during the first 24 hours of the eruption. Photos of the 2010 eruptions by Fred Kamphues, Volcanic Eyjafjallajökull run off: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (binaural recording optimised for headphones), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2010_eruptions_of_Eyjafjallajökull&oldid=990444873, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2010, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2010, Articles containing potentially dated statements from April 2010, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, large-scale disruption to air travel, smaller effects on farming in Iceland. Additional localised disruption continued into May 2010. The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were volcanic events at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland which, although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe over an initial period of six days in April 2010.  On 20 April 2010 Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson said, "the time for Katla to erupt is coming close ... we [Iceland] have prepared ... it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption.". The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 had a huge impact on the aviation industry in Europe (Donovan & Oppenheimer, 2010). The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. The series of events that marked its latest eruption began on March 10, 2010 and continued for 23 days. , During the eruption, the BBC television news announcers did not try to pronounce the name "Eyjafjallajökull," but called it "the Iceland volcano.".  Other notable volcanic eruptions in recent years include the eruption of Mount Pinatubo of 1991 of VEI 6. Large-scale release of sulphur dioxide into the troposphere also poses a potential health risk, especially to people with pre-existing breathing disorders.  Crustal expansion continued at Þorvaldseyri for two days after the eruption began, but was slowly decreasing whilst the volcanic activity was increasing. The plume was driven southeast, across the North Atlantic Ocean to northern Europe, by the prevailing winds. Most of these were too small (magnitude 2) to be interpreted as precursors to an eruption, but some could be detected in nearby towns. By the evening of 6 June 2010, a small, new crater had opened up on the west side of the main crater. In addition to volcanic ash being very hazardous to aircraft, the location of this eruption directly under the jet stream ensured that the ash was carried into the heavily used airspace over northern and central Europe. , Samples of volcanic ash collected near the eruption showed a silica concentration of 58%—much higher than in the lava flows. The Institute of Earth Sciences made a preliminary estimate of erupted material in the first three days of the eruption on 14 April 2010 at Eyjafjallajökull.  The effect also spread beyond Iceland. The study reported increased activity that occurred between June and August 2009 (200 events), compared to a total of about 250 earthquakes recorded between September 2006 and August 2009.  Ash from the current Eyjafjallajökull eruption contains one-third the concentration typical in Hekla eruptions, with a mean value of 104 mg of fluoride per kg of ash. IES also noted that the eruption continue with less explosive activity. , By 26 February 2010, the global positioning system (GPS) equipment used by the Iceland Meteorological Office at Þorvaldseyri farm in the Eyjafjöll area (around 15 km (9.3 mi) south-east of the location of the recent eruption) had shown 3 cm of displacement of the local crust in a southward direction, of which a 1-cm displacement had taken place within four days. Distributed by high velocity … In October 2010, Ármann Höskuldsson, a scientist at the University of Iceland Institute of Earth Sciences, stated that the eruption was officially over, although the area was still geothermally active and might erupt again. The 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano had a huge impact on air travel, changing the assessment of risk by the aviation sector and catalyzing new lines of scientific investigation. It was the highest level of air travel disruption since World War 2. The April 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano (Figure 1), located on Iceland's southern coast, created unprecedented disruptions to European air traffic during 15–20 April, costing the aviation industry an estimated $250 million per day (see the related news item in this issue). The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were volcanic events at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland which, although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, caused enormous disruption to air travelacross western and northern Europe over an initial period of six days in April 2010. Mud, ice, and meltwater running off the volcano swelled local rivers and streams, especially the Markarfljót glacial river west of the volcano, which flooded farmland and damaged roads.  Previous eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have been followed by eruptions at its larger neighbour, Katla. The second eruptive phase happened under 200 m (660 ft) of glacial ice. Vodafone and the Icelandic telecommunications company Míla installed webcams, giving views of the eruption from Valahnúkur, Hvolsvöllur, and Þórólfsfell. Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano burst into life for the first time in 190 years on March 20, 2010. Ash ejection from this phase of the eruption was small, rising to no more than 4 km (2.5 mi) into the atmosphere. The craters can be seen when hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail as well as the lava field from the eruption called, Goðahraun. , After a short hiatus in eruptive activity, and a large increase in seismic activity 23:00 on 13 April and 1:00 on 14 April, a new set of craters opened early in the morning of 14 April 2010 under the volcano's ice-covered central summit caldera. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The ash plume that was created reached a height of 11 km. Deformation was occurring at rates up to a centimetre a day since 4 March at various GPS sites installed within 12 km (7.5 mi) from the eruptive site. Eruptive products can be split into three categories along with preliminary estimated erupted volumes: Total: 140 million cubic metres (180,000,000 cu yd) which corresponds to some 70–80 million cubic metres (92,000,000–105,000,000 cu yd) of magma. Lace your climbing boots tight, because this quiz will test whether you can conquer the highest peaks of knowledge. The eruption started on 20 March. With a VEI (Volcanic Explosivity Index) of four, the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull was not one of the largest recorded eruptions, but the resulting damage was significant. This was the highest plume since the eruption started. Instead, the police closed the road to Þórsmörk and the four-wheel-drive trail from Skógar village to the Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass, but these roads and trails were reopened on 29 March, though only for suitable four-wheel drive vehicles. , Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatl̥aˌjœːkʏtl] (listen)) is one of Iceland's smaller ice caps located in the far south of the island. , At the mouth of the crater, the gases, ejecta, and volcanic plume have created a rare weather phenomenon known as volcanic lightning (or a "dirty thunderstorm").  The seismic activity continued to increase, and from 3 to 5 March, close to 3,000 earthquakes were measured having their epicentre at the volcano.  The thick layer of ash that had fallen on some Icelandic pastures and farms at Raufarfell had become wet and compact, making it very difficult to continue farming, harvesting, or grazing livestock.. The most recent major eruptions occurred in 920, 1612, and from 1821 to 1823. This second phase erupted trachyandesite. , The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority released an announcement on 18 April 2010, asking that all horse owners who keep their herds outside be on the alert for ash fall. The eruption had two explosive phases separated by a phase with lava formation and reduced explosive activity. Neither phase of the eruption was unusually powerful. John P. Rafferty writes about Earth processes and the environment. About 500 farmers and their families had to escape from the areas of Fljótshlíð, Eyjafjöll, and Landeyjar were evacuated overnight (including a group of 30 schoolchildren and their three teachers from Caistor Grammar School in England), and flights to and from Reykjavík and Keflavík International Airport were postponed, but on the evening of 21 March, domestic and international air traffic was allowed again. He serves currently as the editor of Earth and life sciences, covering climatology, geology, zoology, and other topics that relate to... What is the highest mountain range in South America?  The concentration of water-soluble fluoride was one-third of the concentration typical in Hekla eruptions, with a mean value of 104 mg of fluoride per kg of ash. A study by the Icelandic Meteorological Office published on December 2009 indicated an increase in seismic activity around the Eyjafjallajökull area during the years 2006–2009. , No human fatalities were reported from the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. A 500-meter- (2,000-foot) long fissure opened in the Fimmvörduháls pass to the west of the ice-covered summit of Eyjafjallajökull. , On 21 June 2010, data from seismic recorders in the area indicated that the frequency and strength of earth tremors had diminished, but were continuing. Produced very little lava, but huge quantities of glass-rich ash which ejected... Health services for respiratory and eye irritation did not rise significantly crater at the time the! 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