The Korea Herald


Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano erupting

By 황장진

Published : May 22, 2011 - 17:11

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REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) _ Iceland closed its main international airport Sunday as a volcanic eruption sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles (20 kilometers) into the air.

Smoke rises from the Grimsvotn volcano in Reykjavik, Iceland, Saturday. (AP-Yonhap News) Smoke rises from the Grimsvotn volcano in Reykjavik, Iceland, Saturday. (AP-Yonhap News)

Airport and air traffic control operator ISAVIA said Keflavik airport was closed at 0830 GMT (4:30 a.m. EDT), and no flights were taking off or landing.

Spokeswoman Hjordis Gudmundsdottir said the ash plume was covering Iceland, but ``the good news is that it is not heading to Europe.''

She said the ash was blowing west toward Greenland instead.

She said officials were investigating whether Iceland's other airports could take Keflavik-bound flights.

Trans-Atlantic flights were being diverted away from Iceland, and there was no sign yet that the eruption would cause the widespread travel disruption triggered last year by ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

In April 2010, officials closed the continent's air space for five days, fearing the ash could harm jet engines. Some 10 million travelers were stranded.

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

Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, said last year's eruption was a rare event and Grimsvotn would likely have much less effect on international air traffic.

``The ash in Eyjafjallajokull was persistent or unremitting and fine-grained,'' Einarsson said. ``The ash in Grimsvotn is more coarse and not as likely to cause danger as it falls to the ground faster and doesn't stay as long in the air as in the Eyjafjallajokull eruption.''

Sparsely populated Iceland is one of the world's most volcanically active countries and eruptions are frequent.

Eruptions often cause local flooding from melting glacier ice, but rarely cause deaths. Police closed a main road near the volcano Sunday as heavy ash fell.

The Grimsvotn volcano also erupted in 1998, 1996 and 1993. The eruptions have lasted between a day and several weeks.


아이슬란드서 또 화산폭발..영공 폐쇄

북극권 바로 남쪽에 위치한  북대서 양의 섬나라 아이슬란드가 22일(이하 현지시각) 화산 폭발로 인해 영공을 잠정 폐쇄 했다.

아이슬란드 당국은 전날 남부 바트나요쿨 빙하 아래에 있는 그림스보튼  화산에 서 지진을 동반한 폭발이 시작된 뒤 연기가 20km 상공까지 도달함에 따라 영공을 폐 쇄했다고 밝혔다. 최대 공항인 케플라비크국제공항은 오전  8시30분(GMT기준.한국시 각 오후 5시30분)부로 가동이 중단됐다.

공항 운영주체인 이사비아(ISAVIA)의 효르디스 구드문트스도티르 대변인은  "영 공 폐쇄가 최소한 향후 몇시간 동안 아이슬란드 전역에 큰 영향을 줄 것"이라며  현 재 아이슬란드를 드나드는 항공편 운항이 중단되고 있다고 전했다.

그는 현재 화산재 기둥이 유럽 대륙을 향하고 있지 않으며, 그린란드 쪽으로 서 진하고 있다고 설명했다.

이와 관련, 아이슬란드 기상청의 구나르 구드문손은 "(지난해 항공대란을  야기한) 에이야프얄라요쿨 화산 폭발과 같은 수준의 파급 효과가 있을 것으로는  예상하 지 않는다"고 말했다.

이번 폭발이 국내선 항공편 운항에는 영향을 주겠지만 국제선 중단이나 외국 공 항 폐쇄로 이어지지는 않을 것이라는 얘기다.

지난해 4월에는 아이슬란드 에이야프얄라요쿨 화산 폭발에 따른 화산재 분출로 10만여편의 항공기 운항이 차질을 빚고 승객 800만명의 발이 묶이는 등 유럽 전역에 극심한 항공대란이 빚어진 바 있다.