Iceland has closed its main international airport and cancelled domestic flights after its most active volcano, Grimsvotn, began erupting. A plume of smoke has risen 20km (12 miles) into the sky from the volcano.
University of Iceland geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said this was Grimsvotn’s largest eruption for 100 years, “much bigger and more intensive than Eyjafjallajokull”.
He added: “There is a very large area in south-east Iceland where there is almost total darkness and heavy fall of ash. But it is not spreading nearly as much. The winds are not as strong as they were in Eyjafjallajokull.”
He said this ash was coarser than last year’s eruption, falling to the ground more quickly instead of floating long distances.
Europe’s air traffic control organisation said on Sunday: “There is currently no impact on European or trans-Atlantic flights and the situation is expected to remain so for the next 24 hours.
“Aircraft operators are constantly being kept informed of the evolving situation.”
However, weather officials warned that ash could reach northern Scotland by Tuesday and parts of Britain, France and Spain by Thursday or Friday if the eruption continues at the same rate, according to Reuters.
In Scotland, a meeting of the government’s resilience committee chaired by Transport Secretary Keith Brown is currently being held to discuss the possible impact.