Flights diverted as Icelandic volcano erupts

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A gigantic volcanic eruption occurred in Iceland under Europe?s largest glacier early on Sunday. This unexpected eruption forced several international flights to divert south of the North Atlantic Island as a plume of smoke and ash rose to a height of 50,000 feet. The sudden diversion and grounding of flights caused chaos across airports in Europe.

This volcano by the name of Grimsvoetn, is Iceland?s most active volcano and is located at the heart of its biggest glacier, Vatnajoekull. This volcano was last recorded active in 2004.

Thick smoke and ash soon enveloped nearby villages and reached the capital, Reykjavik, almost 400 kilometers to the west of the glacier. ?It?s just black outside, when it supposed to be bright daylight?, a local farmer said.

Iceland?s airport administration, Isava, announced that the country?s main airport, Keflavik, was shutting down and basically all the country’s air space was closing temporarily.

?A no-fly zone which covers 120 nautical mile radius around the eruption has been put in place,? Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, spokeswoman for Isavia Ltd., told Icelandic broadcaster RUV late yesterday. ?The eruption might have some impact on international air traffic.?

The ash plunged areas near the volcano in southeast Iceland into darkness and covered buildings, cars and fields in a thick layer of gray soot. Civil protection workers urged residents to wear masks and stay indoors.

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