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Eruption continues at full force - video

31.08.2014 - 17:45
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Icelandic authorities have lowered the aviation alert level from red to orange, amid an ongoing fissure eruption north of Bardarbunga volcano. The eruption started around 04:00 GMT Sunday, on the same fissure which erupted Friday.

Sunday afternoon, the eruption showed no signs of subsiding. Adverse weather conditions have hampered scientists observing the eruption, but depending on visibility, they can be seen on a webcam located on a nearby mountain.

The eruption is located at Holuhraun, an ice-free lava field, around 4 km (2.5 mi) outside the glacier which covers Bardarbunga, Iceland's biggest volcano and one of the country's most hazardous. This eruption is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and is of less concern than a subglacial one, which might include both explosive activity (with the potential for ash dispersing over a large area, restricting aviation) and melting of the glacier, causing major flooding in inhabited areas over 100 km (60 mi) from the volcano.

According to scientists, the latest eruption is roughly the same size as the one at Eyjafjallajokull in 2010, which grounded flights throughout northern Europe. However, no volcanic ash has been detected on radar, and the Icelandic Met Office has thus lowered the aviation alert level from red to orange, meaning no flight restrictions are in effect.

This is the third eruption in the area since a record wave of seismic activity began in the Bardarbunga region around mid-August. The first eruption occured on Saturday 23 August, underneath the glacier. The second eruption, located at Holuhraun lava field, started in the early hours of Friday, and lasted only 3-4 hours.

The eruption is located in one of the most remote places in Iceland, with no permanent inhabitants nearby. Popular tourist attractions located near the eruption site, including parts of Iceland's largest national park, remain closed.

Two relatively large earthquakes struck on the north rim of Bardarbunga volcano Sunday afternoon. A magnitude 5.1 quake was detected at 12:01 GMT, and a magnitude 4.9 shock at 16:12 GMT.

This story, by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), was updated on 31 August 2014, at 18:37 GMT.

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