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A cloud of smoke and ash forms over Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano Photo by: AFP/Getty Images

Icelandic volcano eruption threatens air travel again

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A cloud of smoke and ash forms over Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano Photo by: AFP/Getty Images

Irish aviation is bracing itself for another volcanic ash cloud crisis after another Icelandic volcano eruption.

The volcano sent a plume of smoke and ash 12 miles into the atmosphere on Saturday and the cloud is expected to reach Europe by Tuesday.

Iceland’s most active volcano Grimsvotn began erupting late on Saturday when so much ash was blasted into the sky that it blocked out the sun and covered nearby villages and farms.

The cloud reached the capital Reykjavik on Sunday when Iceland’s airspace was closed.

Airlines have already been warned about the volcanic ash cloud which could cause major disruption again across Europe.

Air travel ground to a halt a year ago after a similar volcanic eruption in Iceland caused airspace to be closed across the continent.

The Irish Independent reports that this latest warning is based on five-day weather forecasts. Experts have said that the wind patterns are changeable and could yet sweep the cloud away from Ireland.

No disruption is expected to European or transatlantic air travel before Tuesday at the earliest but the ash cloud could reach Scotland and Ireland by Wednesday depending on the wind patterns.

“Due to the predicted direction of the winds over the coming days no closure of Irish or European airspace is anticipated at this time,” the Irish Aviation Authority.

The eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano last year caused 34 countries to close their airspace at a cost of over $200million a day to the aviation industry.

Experts don’t believe the impact will be as severe this time.

Icelandic weather expert Gunnar Gudmundsson said: “I don’t expect this will have the same effect as Eyjafjallajokull volcano because the ash is not as fine.”

But Einar Kjartansson, a geophysicist at Iceland’s met office, warned: “If the eruption lasts for a long time we could be seeing similar effects as last year.”

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