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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: Experts still braced for major eruption

A small volcanic eruption in Iceland's Bardarbunga system has now stopped, and all airspace restrictions have been lifted.

But experts have warned the worst may not be over, with a major eruption causing an ash cloud similar to the 2010 eruption at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano still a possibility.

Steam and ash rise from the Bardarbunga volcano after a small eruption overnight Credit: Reuters

Nick Petford, a vulcanology expert at the University of Northampton, said:

Exactly the same thing happened in 2010 with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. The main eruption was in April, but in March there was a fissure eruption which was a precursor to the much larger eruption.

– Nick Petford, University of Northampton

He said scientists would now begin examining the volcano to try to detect any quakes deeper below the surface.

Experts have warned a major eruption is still possible Credit: Reuters

He added:

Those are pretty clear evidence that large amounts of magma are being stored within the volcano and that's a good indication it will explode.

– Nick Petford, University of Northampton

The country's Met Office earlier reduced its ash warning level down from red to orange, after finding there was no threat to aircraft.

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