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Scientists: Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano erupting

Sunday, May 22, 2011

REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- Scientists say Iceland's most active volcano, Grimsvotn, has started erupting.

Iceland's Meteorological Office confirmed Saturday that an eruption had begun, and local media said smoke could be seen coming from the volcano.

Grimsvotn lies under the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland.

It last erupted in 2004. Scientists have been expecting a new eruption and have said previously that this volcano's eruption will likely be small and should not lead to the air travel chaos caused in April 2010 by ash from the Eyjafjallajokul volcano.

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

They often cause local flooding from melting glacier ice but rarely cause deaths.

Last year's Eyjafjallajokul eruption left millions of air travelers stranded after winds pushed the ash cloud toward some of the world's busiest airspace and led most northern European countries to ground all planes for five days.

In November, melted glacial ice began pouring from Grimsvotn, signaling a possible eruption. That was a false alarm but scientists have been monitoring the volcano closely ever since.


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