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Fears Iceland volcano may blow its top

Wednesday, August 27 14:12:24

Two earthquakes measuring more than magnitude 5 hit Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano overnight sparking fears of a repeat of the transport chaos another volcano caused four years ago.

In 2010, an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano closed much of Europe's airspace for six days.

"During the night we have had three larger events, two of them in the Bardarbunga caldera. Those were 5.2 and 5.3, and very similar to the events that we have seen there before," said Palmi Erlendsson, a geologist at the Met Office.

He said there had also been a 4.5 magnitude quake at the nearby Askja volcano. The night before saw a magnitude 5.7 quake - the biggest earthquake yet at Bardarbunga.

On Sunday, Iceland lowered its warning code for possible volcanic disruption to the aviation industry to orange from red, after concluding that seismic activity had not led to a volcanic eruption under the glacier.

Red alert - the highest warning level - indicates an eruption is imminent or underway, with a significant emission of ash likely.

Experts at Irish online travel insurer are advising consumers to keep a close eye on developments in Iceland.

The travel insurance specialists are saying that taking measures now could ensure people are protected financially from potential travel disruptions.

According to Finbarr Crotty, Managing Director of, "Experience from dealing with events in 2010 has meant that the aviation authorities and others are much more prepared for such a situation and it is predicted that regardless of how this plays out not as much disruption will be caused. However, this is a "live event", so it would be wise for travellers to keep abreast of the situation as it develops."

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