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Iceland’s most active volcano may be about to erupt

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A cloud of smoke and ash is seen over the Grímsvötn volcano on Iceland on May 21, 2011 after its last eruption. (Getty)
A cloud of smoke and ash is seen over the Grímsvötn volcano on Iceland on May 21, 2011 after its last eruption. (Getty)

Iceland’s most active volcano may be on the verge of erupting after scientists detected increased seismic activity in the area.

The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) said the seismic activity at the Grímsvötn volcano has been increasing during the past month.

The Aviation Colour Code for the volcano was raised to yellow from green on 1 October.

In 2011, Grímsvötn had a major eruption, causing Icelandic airspace to close and 900 flights to be cancelled.

The IMO said raising the Aviation Colour Code did not mean an eruption was imminent, but added: “Multiple datasets now indicate that Grímsvötn volcano has reached a level of unrest.”

They said ground deformation had exceeded the levels seen before the 2011 eruption.

The 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption sent a cloud of ash over Europe causing travel chaos that led to around 100,000 flight cancellations.

The air industry which has already been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic will be fearful of another eruption causing further travel chaos.

Grímsvötn is Iceland’s most active volcano with over 65 recorded eruptions in the past 800 years.

According to scientists, Grímsvötn erupts every five to 10 years on average, with nine years since the last one.

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A cloud of smoke caused by the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption which led to hundreds of flights being canceled. (Getty)
A cloud of smoke caused by the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption which led to hundreds of flights being canceled. (Getty)

Read more: Hawaii volcano creates new land after lava smothers homes and fills ocean bay

It sits beneath a glacier, is almost entirely encased in ice and produces extremely high temperatures, even for a volcano.

The high temperatures have led to the creation of a lake around the volcano but beneath the glacier.