Iceland Volcano Dormant

The answer is not that easy. Scientists believe that the volcano has gone dormant – for now. Volcanic tremors (small earthquakes associated with volcanic eruptions) have almost reached pre-eruption levels, while during the eruption, hundreds of small earthquakes were reported during a 24 hour period. A small trail of steam can be seen exiting the crater, whereas before, the voluminous cloud of ash reached a maximum height of 27,000 feet on May 15. For now, it would appear that the eruption is over, although scientists are reluctant to say that the volcano will remain dormant. Based on the historical unpredictability of these events, scientists do not want to go so far as to declare the eruption to be “over.”

Icelandic volcanoes have always affected Europe. A vast eruption in 1783 may have indirectly helped lead to the French Revolution of 1789, when it caused a change in the weather that decimated crops in Northern Europe. Hunger then, as well as poverty, contributed to the unrest in France. Another eruption in 1821 reoccurred sporadically until 1823. Officials say, however, that there is currently no ash emission from the crater. It appears that no magma is breaking through. The ash cloud in April and May was exacerbated by the hot magma bursting out of the volcano and melting the surrounding glacial ice. For this reason, the ash cloud was at its worst at the beginning of the activity. Tremors have returned to almost normal levels.

Ash contains particles that can damage airplane engines. In April, European air traffic was brought to a standstill, when uncertainty about the effects of the ash caused officials to ground flights for several days. Eyjafjallajakull continued to erupt for sometime after that, continuing its activity through mid-May.

For those concerned about the volcano’s effect on their travel plans, there is no definitive answer. But, there were no guarantees before the eruption, either. These volcanos have been active on and off for centuries. So, while scientists will not say that there is no chance of further eruptions, it does appear that for now, volcanic activity is at a minimum, and the chance of another massive eruption is fairly minute. For the foreseeable future, the Iceland volcano is dormant.

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