Icelandic volcano imposes travel risks after possible eruption

Posted on Sep 17, 2014

In 2011, the Grimsvotn, one of Iceland's most active sub-glacier volcanoes, erupted, clogging airspace and causing all air travel to shut down from Iceland as smoke caused flight issues in the nation. In 2010, a large cloud of smoke from the Eyjafjoell volcano in Iceland shot debris six miles into the air, which floated across the sea and into parts of northern Europe. While both incidents were massive and caused serious problems for millions of travelers, Iceland is once again warning people of another volcanic threat, Traveller 24 reported.

"We meet twice a day, but the earthquake activity still comes in waves," Vidir Reynisson, the department manager for the Civil Protection Department, told a local the reporter. "There do not seem to be any changes, but it is still very powerful."

Evacuations made north of volcano

There are at least three airlines closely watching the volcano, with Air France, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Delta Air Lines Inc. all running commercial routes in the path of the volcano, Bloomberg reported. On Aug. 19, the Civil Protection Agency of Iceland evacuated citizens to the north of the volcano as part of their disaster management plan.

"There is still no sign of this intrusion being on its way to the surface," Martin Hensch, a seismologist for the Icelandic Met Office, told Bloomberg. "It's still impossible to say whether or not the volcano will erupt, due to the simple fact that we can't predict what the developments in the next hours or days will be."

Many remember eruption just 4 years ago

The eruption in Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 caused at least 100,000 flight cancelations and roughly $1.7 billion was lost in total revenue from the incident, Bloomberg noted.

Researchers are now looking into the threat of one of Iceland's largest volcanoes erupting. Bryndis Brandsdottir, a geophysicist working for the University of Iceland, explained to a local reporter the seismic readings showed the volcano's magma wasn't close to the surface, but was still roughly 3 to 7 kilometers underneath, Traveller 24 reported.

For businesses sending travelers to northern Europe or Iceland, executives have a duty of care obligation to protect their workers from entering a harmful or possibly dangerous area. Having the appropriate travel alerts sent to workers overseas could prevent corporate travelers from entering unsafe regions while abroad.

Icelandic researchers explained the nation's largest volcano, the Bardarbunga, could erupt, and it if did it would cause flight disruption through the transatlantic and into northern Europe, the source cited. Additionally, the volcano would likely cause floods from melting ice, which would tear apart Iceland's infrastructure.

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