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Icelandic volcanic ash alert back to orange after eruption

Iceland has cut its ash alert level for aviation to orange from red after raising it to the maximum level earlier in the day due to a fresh eruption from a fissure in the Bardarbunga volcano system.

Iceland's largest volcanic system has been hit by thousands of earthquakes over the last two weeks and scientists have been on high alert.

In 2010, an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, in a different region of Iceland, closed much of Europe's air space for six days.

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Iceland volcano ash depends on 'thickness of ice'

The amount of ash produced by the Bardarbunga volcano would depend on the thickness of the ice, Icelandic Met Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer has said, after Iceland raised its aviation alert to red.

Seismologists say magma is moving under the glacier but so far has travelled horizontally at a depth of three to six miles. The volcano will erupt if the magma rises and melts the ice above.

The thicker the ice, the more water there is, the more explosive it will be and the more ash-rich the eruption will be.

– Melissa Pfeffer, Icelandic Met Office vulcanologist

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