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Saturday 20th September 2014
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Bardarbunga Volcano Risk Lowered After Quakes

Sunday, 24th August 2014 13:27

Iceland has lowered the aviation risk from the Bardarbunga volcano from the highest to the second-highest level.

The Civil Protection Department says there is no immediate threat of an eruption.

However, seismic activity continues at the subglacial volcano, which has been hit by thousands of earthquakes over the past week.

On Saturday Iceland raised the alert level from orange to red, warning an ash-emitting eruption could be imminent.

It followed an earthquake under a glacier about 15 miles (25km) from the Bardarbunga range.

The decision to lower the alert level comes after two more earthquakes shook the Bardarbunga volcano overnight.

Iceland's Met Office said in a statement a magnitude 5.3 quake at a depth of three miles (5km) struck after midnight.

Another, with a magnitude of about 5.0, followed about five hours later.

"These are the strongest events measured since the onset of the seismic crisis at Bardarbunga and the strongest since 1996," the Met Office said on its website.

But it insisted there was no sign of any eruption at Bardarbunga.

It added: "Probably, earthquakes near the Bardarbunga caldera are a consequence of adjustment to changes in pressure because of the flow of magma from under the caldera into the dyke which stretches to Dyngjujokull."

Bardarbunga is Iceland's largest volcanic system and is located under the ice cap of a glacier.

It is in a different range to Eyjafjallajokull, which erupted in 2010, throwing up a huge cloud of ash that caused massive disruption to air travel.

More than 100,000 flights were cancelled and the fear is that similar chaos will follow if Bardarbunga erupts.