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Is the Eyjafjallajökull eruption over?

The volcanic eruption has been fairly low-key this past week, and according to reports from this morning it appears to have stopped altogether.

At least for the time being.

Reporter Ómar Ragnarsson flew over the crater this morning and told RÚV that there is no ash in the plume and it looks like the eruption has stopped completely.

According to a rep from the Icelandic Met office, however, it is premature to say whether or not the eruption is over. After all, the last time Eyjafjallajökull erupted it lasted for two years, with breaks.

In any case, here’s hoping the farmers in the area will get some respite, if not a complete end to the falling ash.

Finally, a few words of warning for anyone who wants to go have a look, from Mike Richards, our resident volcanologist:

You shouldn’t even think about going off trail, there are likely to be mudslides and avalanches for the foreseeable future even if the volcano goes quiet. And there is one risk that I can’t stress enough – cooling lava produces invisible clouds of carbon dioxide which pools in low lying areas. Don’t get close to the lava without a trained guide. There have also been reports of a bluish haze around Eyjafjallajökull which is possible sulfur dioxide and fluorine and will kill you stone dead.

Obviously, if you are near the volcano, check the news before leaving, let people know where you are going AND take a mobile phone.


And a quick bit of advice for Bryan (and anyone else lucky enough to go there). Don’t walk on fresh lava, even if it is several months old. A few centimetres under the surface it will still be hot enough to inflict severe, even fatal, burns. Lava is crumbly and regularly has voids underneath the surface; you might put your foot on something that looks solid only to find it is nothing more than a thin crust. And finally, it is sharp – I wore a brand new pair of boots out in a couple of weeks when walking on old lava in the US. So don’t wear new shoes and think about investing in a pair of tough gloves.

Oh and stay upwind of any steam or fumes coming out of the ground near a recent eruption, there’s going to be nothing nice in there, and you’ll need your lungs later in life.

[more sagely wisdom in the comments to this post. Thanks Mike!]



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • sylvia hikins May 23, 2010, 11:30 pm

    The BBC tonight made a big thing about Eyjafjallajokull’s eruption now being over. Actually they are calling it ‘that volcano in Iceland’ because most the the news readers can’t read the name!!! Mike has confirmed what I suspected- that it’s quite probably taking a little rest before kicking off again. The BBC should know that unlike the news, nature is entirely unpredictable!
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Joerg May 23, 2010, 11:56 pm

    I wouldn’t mind, if the volcano gave us a break. Summer and holiday are approaching and nobody wants to spend this time on airports waiting for the ash cloud to disappear.

    Mike had asked about my photos in the comments to the last volcano post, so I have uploaded some to Flickr:


  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland May 24, 2010, 1:11 am

    Thank you Alda my niece will perhaps escape to New Zealand and I shall be the proud owner of a Peugot 206 allah willing, by the way my offer of a submarine escape to North Korea still stands if you tire of Icelandic politics, but I suggest defecting to Montreal(Québécois) they like strip clubs there or at least they did in 1980 unlike your Taliban Iceland or the Taliban in Norway


    $443 bill wealth fund kinda suspect compared to your $5 bill ICesave.

  • Mike Richards May 24, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Thanks Joerg for the great photos, you got some fabulous weather on your trip. And wow – that ash cloud! Quite some contrast to how it looks today.

    Not that I’m jealous. At all. Well not much – okay I *AM* jealous. A lot 😉

    The good news is that tomorrow I start paying into my volcano fund (all donations welcome) so the next time a bit of Iceland gets hot and bothered I will be on the next plane. Perhaps we should arrange for an Alda’s Fan Club meet for the next eruption?


  • Dana May 24, 2010, 5:59 pm

    I saw a National Geographic’s documentary on the volcanic eruption, along with some pretty shots of the ashes. Usually, the airing of such documentaries signal some kind of a pause in the event on hand. 🙂