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Monday, May 23, 2011

Iceland Volcano Eruption Closes International Airport

Iceland Volcano Eruption Closes International Airport
by Kate Auletta

Iceland's most active volcano once again erupted on Saturday, closing the international airport that was closed for days last year upon the last eruption.

The eruption sent ash 12 miles into the air, closing the Keflavik airport at 4:30am on Sunday, MSNBC reports.

Airport operator ISAVIA said in a statement: "The ash distribution forecast over the next six hours shows that the ash from the volcano will spread over Iceland today, leading to the closure of most Icelandic airports as the day goes on."

An airport spokesperson said that the ash plume was covering Iceland but it didn't seem to be heading east to Europe, which happened last year, but was instead blowing west towards Greenland.

Trans-Atlantic flights were being diverted away from Iceland, but there is no indication that widespread disruptions would occur.

Last year's eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano shut the airspace in 34 countries over fears that ash particles could cause jet engines to stop, the Telegraph reports. It was the largest closure of airports since World War II.

UPDATE 5/23:

Although authorities claimed European air space would not be affected by the eruption of Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano, dense ash is now entering Scotland's air space and could disrupt flights as soon as Monday night, the British Met Office said.

Met spokesman David Britton said a high-density ash cloud was expected to cover parts of Scotland by 6am Tuesday.

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