Volcano heats up media, but ashy discharge is limited. Sources say disruptive eruption highly unlikely.
AUGUST 30, 2014: 02:37GMT
The National Meteorological Survey of Iceland re-elevated its aviation warning level to red at 08:00 GMT on September 9th, indicating that an eruption was ongoing after a fissure opened and began emitting lava and ash several hundred kilometers south of the Bardabunga volcano itself. After several hours passed the volume of ash discharge was deemed manageable and the alert level was reverted to orange.
Logistics and supply chain managers were caught off guard after the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland which effectively shut down trans-Atlantic air routes and sent shockwaves through global shipping and freight. The global economy would suffer $4.6B in losses as a result of those delays. Our research and Exposure Exclusive sources inside the geological community and the Iceland Meteorological Survey itself indicate that there is no immediate cause for concern and this series of volcanic events will have little if any impact on international flight paths.
While the aviation alert level has been fluctuating between red and orange over the last week, sources at the Iceland Meteorological Survey remain confident that there is “no indication that the Bardabunga [caldera] will erupt.” Bergphora Njala, a crises responder at the National Geological Survey of Iceland, described the fissure as a pressure valve, which released a large amount of the gaseous pressure that was building up under the range. Seismic activity has significantly diminished since the eruption of the fissure. The volcanic activity itself is classified a “pure effusive”, “calm lava flow” eruption. Of course geologists cannot predict the future, we were reminded, but currently the probability of an eruption causing major air travel disruptions appears very low.
The nature of the lava field the fissure is located in further reduces the likelihood of a catastrphic eruption. Currently the flow out of the fissure is largely comprised of a highly viscous type of lava, not generally associated with destructive volcanic events.
These smaller, less violent eruptions can create incredible, awe inspiring lava fountains that attract tourists every year, but are highly unlikely to produce ash emissions capable of disrupting international flight paths.