An eruption at Grimsvotn has hit Iceland at 19:25UTC on May 21, sending a huge bubbling mass of ash and smoke, which seeped above the clouds for 12 miles and was accompanied by multiple earthquakes.
Grimsvotn, which sits at the heart of Iceland's biggest glacier, is known as the most active volcano in Iceland and has erupted 9 times between 1922 and 2004.
In October 2010, a harmonic tremor was recorded around Grimsvotn indicating an impending eruption. Sudden inflation was measured in the volcano indicating magma movement under the mountain. In November 2010, meltwater from the Vatnajokull glacier was flowing into the lake, suggesting an imminent eruption of the underlying volcano.
The eruption on Saturday was reminiscent of an earlier eruption at Eyjafjallajokull volcano in April 2010, when volcanic ash spread and resulted in mass cancellations of flights. Cautious of confusion for air travelers, weather experts and officials have continued to watch the movement of the volcano.
Dave Mcgarvie, volcanologist at Britain's Open University, said any ash which reached Britain would be less than last year's, and added that experience gained since the 2010 eruption would lead to less disruption, reported US News.
Impact On Air Travel
On Sunday, airlines were told to brace for possible further spreading of ash later in the week. Though the expected influence of the eruption is not as troublesome as last year's eruption, Iceland's international airports have been closed and the airspace of 220 kilometers around the volcano is shut down.
According to a UK weather official, There is the potential for some ash to be effective in northern Scotland and the northern North Sea by midday on the 24th. Afterward, concerns for the ashes to spread may remain if the volcano continues to erupt at the same intensity.
Airports will be shut down until at least noon Monday, and passengers were advised to contact the airlines. Ash could effect further into the UK, western France and northern Spain by the 26th or 27th.
The power of the eruption shows a declining trend, but is still powerful, marking the most violent eruption at Grimsvotn since 1873.
A thick cloud of ash from the eruption blocked out the daylight and covered cars and buildings at towns and villages at the foot of the glacier where the volcano lies. The thick layer of ashes blocked out the sunlight for several hours.
It was like night is during the winter, said Benedikt Larusson, in the town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur.
The usually crisp air is thick with the ash, piling up a layer of 1.5 to 2 centimeters of ash everywhere, causing difficulty in seeing even a foot ahead. Now it is a little bit better, now I can see about 100 metres, but before it was about 1 meter, Larusson told Reuter.
In the almost apocalyptic landscape, masks were handed out to the residents in the towns and villages near the volcano.