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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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Earthquakes near Iceland volcano 'biggest felt in years'

People in Iceland have been warned to be "on their toes" as fears grow of another major volcanic eruption in the country.

Vidir Reynisson, department manager at the Civil Protection Agency in Iceland, said the latest round of earthquakes had been the most intense felt in the region for many years.

The Bardarbunga volcano is situated beneath the Vatnajökull glacier Credit: Reuters

Speaking to a local TV station, Mr Reynisson said:

The reason we are reacting in this way is that this one [round of quakes] is bigger and more powerful than we have seen in a long time in this area. The Vatnajökull glacier area has shown us in recent years that it is very active and scientists have told us were going into a very active period with regards to eruptions in this area so there is good reason to be on your toes and follow this very closely.

– Vidir Reynisson, Iceland's Civil Protection Agency
Calm before the storm? The Bardarbunga volcano is beneath the glacier Credit: Reuters

There has been seismic activity recorded for days at the Bardarbunga volcano, which is situated beneath the Vatnajökull glacier, including movement of magma just 10km below the surface.

Roads have been closed around the area.

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