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. [citation needed], Samples of volcanic ash collected near the eruption showed a silica concentration of 58%—much higher than in the lava flows. 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. [53] In 1783, 79% of the Icelandic sheep stock were killed, probably as a result of fluorosis caused by the eruption of Laki. 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. 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 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). Initially detected visually, the eruption was seen at 2352 that day as a red cloud above the site. [63] Six months later, the population living in the area had more respiratory symptoms than a control group from North Iceland, with no ashfall. [73] 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. [67][68] The presence and location of the plume depends upon the state of the eruption and the winds. [69], 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"). Craters in autumn. The London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC),[15] part of the UK Met Office, was responsible for forecasting the presence of volcanic ash in the north-east Atlantic. [44] Crustal expansion continued at Þorvaldseyri for two days after the eruption began, but was slowly decreasing whilst the volcanic activity was increasing. Most Recent Weekly Report: 27 October-2 November 2010 Cite this Report. The crater at the top is 4 km across. Eyjafjallajökull volcano, beneath an extension of Mýrdalsjökull (Mýrdals Glacier), erupted in March 2010 for the first time since 1821. Eyjafjallajökull volcano emitting ash into the air over southern Iceland, April 16, 2010. The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. By the morning of 24 May 2010, the view from the web camera installed on Þórólfsfell[57] showed only a plume of water vapour surrounded by a bluish haze caused by emission of sulphurous gases. [17], 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. The lava was alkali olivine basalt[40] and was relatively viscous, causing the motion of the lava stream to the west and east of the fissure to be slow. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 920, 1612 and again from 1821 to 1823 when it caused a glacial lake outburst flood (or jökulhlaup). 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. When the second fissure appeared, the road was closed again because of the danger of flash floods, which could have developed if the fissure had opened near big ice caps or other snow reservoirs, but the road was again opened at around noon on 1 April. 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. The initial eruption caused a 500 metre fissure in a nearby pass. 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 heat from the lava quickly melted and vaporized the glacier ice above. The most recent major eruptions occurred in 920, 1612, and from 1821 to 1823. The direction of the jet stream was unusually stable at the time of the eruption's second phase, continuously southeast. [66] 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). About 30 minutes played in 18 seconds. On March 21, fountains of lava began exiting through a 0.3-mile- (500-metre-) long vent in the ice-free Fimmvörduháls Pass, which separates the Eyjafjallajökull glacier from the larger glacier Mýrdalsjökull to the east. 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. 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. 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. Although the volcanic eruptions were relatively small, the effects had a hugely debilitating impact on the European airline industry. Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland. [3] This eruption lasted eight days, from 7 – 15 June of that year, with an ash cloud that would have required additional days to dissipate,[78] and resulted in worldwide abnormal weather and decrease in global temperature over the next few years. As of 15 April, the eruption was not large enough to have an effect on global temperatures like that of Mount Pinatubo and other major past volcanic eruptions. [26], The grounding of European flights avoided about 3.44×108 kg of CO2 emissions per day, while the volcano emitted about 1.5×108 kg of CO2 per day.[27]. A 500 metre fissure opened up. The plume was driven southeast, across the North Atlantic Ocean to northern Europe, by the prevailing winds. A series of vents along a 2-km-long north–south-oriented fissure was active, with meltwater flowing mostly down the northern slopes of the volcano, but also to the south. With the first eruption occurring on March 20, 2010, there was little explosive activity but some production of … [49], 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. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption produced very little lava, but huge quantities of glass-rich ash which was ejected into the atmosphere. This second phase erupted trachyandesite. Corrections? [41][42][43], On 25 March 2010, while studying the eruption, scientists witnessed, for the first time in history, the formation of a pseudocrater during a steam explosion. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 had a huge impact on the aviation industry in Europe (Donovan & Oppenheimer, 2010). Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, is situated just 160km west of where Eyjafjallajökull erupted. The fissure vent eruption on Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland on March 21, 2010. 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. Lava flows – 1000 degrees Calcius lava spewed 150m into the air. 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. Big floods (… 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. [16] 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. Agriculture is important in this region of Iceland,[51] and farmers near the volcano have been warned not to let their livestock drink from contaminated streams and water sources,[52] as high concentrations of fluoride can have deadly renal and hepatic effects, particularly in sheep. [18] However, during the night of 22 March, they reported some volcanic ash fall reaching the Fljótshlíð area (20 to 25 km (12 to 16 mi) north-west of the eruption's location)[19] and Hvolsvöllur town (40 kilometres (25 mi) north-west of the eruption location)[19] leaving vehicles with a fine, grey layer of volcanic ash. Published Mar 29, 2010 Land Volcanoes Its highest point rises to 5,466 feet (1,666 metres) above sea level. [46] Many witnesses were present while the new fissure opened. 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. https://www.britannica.com/place/Eyjafjallajokull-volcano, NASA - Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland, Global Volcanism Program - Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull volcano - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). [33][34][35], 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. It erupted three times in 2010—on 20 March, April–May, and June. Lace your climbing boots tight, because this quiz will test whether you can conquer the highest peaks of knowledge. Update on activity in Eyjafjallajökull 2010 Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. [59], During the eruption, the BBC television news announcers did not try to pronounce the name "Eyjafjallajökull," but called it "the Iceland volcano.". 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. Eyjafjallajökull has erupted in the years 920, 1612, 1821 and 2010. The earthquake swarm was followed by the onset of a seismic eruption tremor. 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. This, with the abundant water-ice at the summit, aids in making lightning.[71]. This was the highest plume since the eruption started. Unlike the earlier eruption phase, the second phase occurred beneath glacial ice. Its summit is 1,651 meters above sea level. However, the second phase of Eyjafjallajökull's eruption lasted longer than that of Mount Pinatubo. The view of the eruption from Þórólfsfel also includes a thermal imaging camera. [76][77] Other notable volcanic eruptions in recent years include the eruption of Mount Pinatubo of 1991 of VEI 6. 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. 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. Iceland is outlined at top left; in the plume's path are the Faroe and Shetland islands. On 20th March 2010, Eyjafjallajökull burst into life after nearly 190 years of inactivity. [20] On 23 March, a small vapour explosion took place, when hot magma came into contact with nearby snowdrifts, emitting a vapour plume which reached an altitude of 7 km (4.3 mi), and was detected on radar from the Meteorological Institute of Iceland. Explosive activity from this new crater was observed with emission of small quantities of ash. [74][75] 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'. 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.[37]. 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. 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.… [61], 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. 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 … [3] By 21 May 2010, the second eruption phase had subsided to the point that no further lava or ash was being produced. By the evening of 6 June 2010, a small, new crater had opened up on the west side of the main crater. The people who lived near the volcano had high levels of irritation symptoms, though their lung function was not lower than expected. 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. [13] The Civil Protection Department[14] of the Icelandic Police produced regular reports about access to the area, including a map of the restricted area around Eyjafjallajokull, from which the public was forbidden. 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. The first eruption phase ejected olivine basaltic andesite lava[11] several hundred metres into the air in what is known as an effusive eruption. The ash plume that was created reached a height of 11 km. About 20 countries closed their airspace to commercial jet traffic and it affected approximately 10 million travellers. 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. Read more: TV Show "60 Minutes" Captures the Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. It was the highest level of air travel disruption since World War 2. This was 10–20 times the average discharge rate in the preceding flank eruption at Fimmvörðuháls. Fluoride poisoning can start in sheep at a diet with fluorine content of 25 ppm. Meltwater started to emanate from the ice cap around 07:00 on 14 April and an eruption plume was observed in the early morning. Records kept since Iceland was settled show that Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 920, 1612 or 1613, and 1821–23. 10:00", "Experimental Acute Sodium Fluoride Poisoning in Sheep: Renal, Hepatic, and Metabolic Effects", "Ash from Iceland Volcano Endangers Horses", "Ash Fall Causes South Iceland Farmers Serious Trouble", "Iceland's volcanic ash halts flights across Europe | World news", "Articles < Seismicity < Icelandic Meteorological office", "University of Iceland reports and scientists' quotes", "A survey of early health effects of the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption in Iceland: a population-based study", "Health effects following the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption: a cohort study", "Syndromic surveillance to assess the potential public health impact of the Icelandic volcanic ash plume across the United Kingdom, April 2010", "RAF grounds fighter jets after volcanic dust is found in engines | Home News | News", "Icelandair and the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption in 2010", "Dirty thunderstorm shoots lightning from volcano", The eruption that changed Iceland forever, "Volcano could mean cooling, acid rain: 'Not like Pinatubo' so far, but potential is there", "Icelandic volcano won't affect the world's climate", "Geologist Ari Trausti Guðmundsson answers Iceland volcano questions | IceNews – Daily News", "APOD: 19 April 2010 – Ash and Lightning Above an Icelandic Volcano", "The Cataclysmic 1991 Eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines", Frequently Asked Questions on the Eruption in Iceland – from the Icelandic Met Office, BBC webpage with film of the volcano, taken from 500m from the crater's edge, by Chris Weber on 13 May 2010, Collection of Scientific Earth Observations and Models, Satellite evidence of hot lava flows from an Icelandic volcano (CIMSS Satellite Blog), Description of beginning of current eruption, (March 2010), Icelandic Met Office, Webpages and -links related to 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions. The craters can be seen when hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail as well as the lava field from the eruption called, Goðahraun. [54] 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.[55]. More than 100 million cubic meters of lava erupted, more than 1000 million cubic meters of tephra erupted. On April 14th 2010 the top crater in the center of the glacier of Eyjafjallajökull started erupting. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The eruption was declared officially over in October 2010, when snow on the glacier did not melt. This, together with the magnitude of the eruption (estimated to be VEI 4)[3] and being 10 to 20 times larger than the eruption of Fimmvörðuháls on 20 March, injected a glass-rich ash plume into the jet stream. The series of events that marked its latest eruption began on March 10, 2010 and continued for 23 days. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The 2010 eruption caused the most widespread air travel disruption for 65 years. (First eruption on 20 March 2010). 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. Large-scale release of sulphur dioxide into the troposphere also poses a potential health risk, especially to people with pre-existing breathing disorders. In addition to volcanic ash being very hazardous to aircraft,[56] 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. The eruption was declared officially over in October 2010, when snow on the glacier did not melt. 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. In which country are the Southern Alps located? In March 2010 a small eruption started close to the famoushiking trail Fimmvörðuháls. 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. [citation needed], A fissure opened up about 150 metres (490 ft) in length running in a north-east to south-west direction, with 10 to 12 erupting lava craters ejecting lava at a temperature around 1,000 °C (1,800 °F) up to 150 m (490 ft) into the air. Case study - eruption in a developed country: Eyjafjallajökull. These two erupting fissures shared the same magma chamber, according to geophysicists. [8] Previous eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have been followed by eruptions at its larger neighbour, Katla. John P. Rafferty writes about Earth processes and the environment. Ash plume reached 11,000m in the air – reached the stratosphere. According to a news article from 27 October, a scientist at the University of Iceland Institute of Earth Sciences noted that the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, that began as a fissure eruption on 20 March 2010 and later continued from the summit caldera on 14 April, was over. 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 eruption began on 20th March 2010 and ended 7 months later in October 2010. The erupting lava cooled very fast, which created a cloud of highly abrasive, glass-rich ash. [7], Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatl̥aˌjœːkʏtl] (listen)) is one of Iceland's smaller ice caps located in the far south of the island. After that, many further vapour explosions occurred. [30][31][32] Inhabitants of the risk zone of Fljótshlíð, Eyjafjöll, and Landeyjar area were allowed to return to their farms and homes after an evening meeting with the Civil Protection Department on 22 March and the evacuation plan was temporarily dismissed. The eruption was preceded by intense seismicity and high rates of deformation in the weeks before the eruption, in association with magma recharging of the volcano. The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 lasted for 39 days, 14 April–23 May. The second eruptive phase happened under 200 m (660 ft) of glacial ice. Eruption at Fimmvörðuháls when hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail as well as the lava field the. 'S path are the Faroe and Shetland islands Iceland has several Volcanoes and is situated just 160km west of Eyjafjallajökull! 14 April–23 May since the eruption was seen at 2352 that day as a red cloud the... Of ash products were fragmented material, the number of phone calls health... 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