From Iceland — Possible Volcanic Eruptions Unlikely To Cause Ash Clouds

Possible Volcanic Eruptions Unlikely To Cause Ash Clouds

Published March 3, 2021

John Pearson
Photo by
Sangga Rima Roman Selia via Unsplash

Despite the possibility of volcanic eruptions as part of the current seismic activity in Iceland, there is little threat to air traffic from airborne ash.

Any lava emerging from the earth is likely to pour out of a fissure—rather than shoot out as part of a major explosive event—resulting in fewer particles being projected into the atmosphere. This fact reduces the chance of a repeat of 2010’s global air traffic chaos, when the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull created huge clouds of ash.

However Keflavík—the main international airport in Iceland—is on the Reykjanes peninsula, about 20km from the main area of seismic activity. Consequently there is a chance that airport access could be cut off if lava emerges from the ground, and flows over the road to the airport. Iceland’s air traffic authorities have therefore created contingency plans both for a road closure scenario and for airborne ash, Austurfrétt reports

In addition to Keflavík, Iceland has three other airports of reasonable size at Reykjavík, Akureyri and Egilsstaðir. In the event that Keflakík were to close, it would be the decision of airlines whether to use an alternative airport.

In the case of airborne ash from a volcanic eruption, a 220km no-fly zone would be placed around the volcano while the Meteorological Office investigated atmospheric conditions. It would then be the decision of airline operators whether to use Keflavík, use an alternative airport, or not to fly.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!