Iceland volcano erupts, airport closed

Grimsvotn volcano

IMPRESSIVE PLUME: Grimsvotn volcano, Saturday, May 21, 2011 in Reykjavik, Iceland.AP

Iceland has closed its main international airport as a volcanic eruption sends a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles (20 kilometres) into the air.

Airport operator ISAVIA said Keflavik airport was closed at 0830 GMT (8.30pm NZT).

Spokeswoman Hjordis Gudmundsdottir said the ash plume was covering Iceland, but was not heading toward Europe.

She said the ash was blowing west toward Greenland instead.

The Grimsvotn volcano, which lies under the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier, began erupting Saturday for the first time since 2004.

In April 2010, ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano was blown toward Europe. Officials closed the continent’s air space for five days, fearing the ash could harm jet engines. Some 10 million travellers were stranded.


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