Updated 03:57 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 22, 2021

Iceland Eruption Update: Scientists Monitor Series of Earthquakes at Bardarbunga Volcano

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Scientists in Iceland are continuing to closely monitor a series of earthquakes at the Bardarbunga volcano. This past week has seen consistent minor tremors that yesterday led researchers to declare an eruption was imminent; however, they quickly retracted that announcement as they continue to analyze seismic data relating to the recent quakes. 

According to Bloomberg, Icelandic officials downgraded the situation's emergency status from an emergency to merely an alerted state, and they also retracted restrictions on air travel in the country. The area surrounding Bardarbunga saw a magnitude 5.0 tremor rock the region last night, yet the country's Met Office announced that it didn't result in any "volcanic tremor."

Scientitsts downgraded the situational alert level after a plane was able to fly over the volcano and researchers were able to ascertain that no eruption had taken place, though seismic activity in the area was reportedly increasing at the time of the flight. Many were worried that should an eruption take place, all air traffic in and out of Iceland would have to be suspended as it was during a 2010 eruption. At that point, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano spewed so much ash into the atmosphere that planes could not fly in the area due to the risk of ash disrupting their jet engines. 

Scientists said that while no eruption has yet occurred and seismic activity may be lessening, they still cannot rule out the possibility of an eruption at Bardarbunga. "Observations show that a sub-glacial eruption did not occur yesterday," the Met Office said. "The intense low-frequency seismic signal observed yesterday has therefore other explanations." 

Local authorities announced that road closures in the area surrounding Bardarbungs, particularly in Jukulsargljufu canyon as far up as Dettifoss waterfall, are still being enforced. Closures have also been issued in the roads north of the Vatnajokull glacier. 

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