Iceland’s Met Office said on Sunday two earthquakes had shaken the Bardarbunga volcano overnight, hours after an eruption under a nearby glacier made authorities raise its warning code for the aviation industry to red, signalling possible major disruptions.
Ash from the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe’s airspace for six days, affecting more than 10 million people and costing $1.7 billion.
Saturday’s small sub-glacial eruption, which closed part of Iceland’s airspace though its airports remain open, was also in the Bardarbunga range, but at a distance of 25 kilometres from the earthquakes’ epicentres, the Met Office said.
There have been thousands of small earthquakes over the past week at Bardarbunga, which is Iceland’s largest volcanic system and located under the ice cap of a glacier. It is in a different range to Eyjafjallajokull, which erupted in 2010.
The Met Office said in a statement a magnitude 5.3 earthquake at 5 kilometres depth had struck after midnight while another, with a magnitude of about 5, had occurred some five hours later.
“These are the strongest events measured since the onset of the seismic crisis at Bardarbunga and the strongest since 1996,” the office said on its website.
There was no sign of any eruption at Bardarbunga, it said.