Analysis of Iceland Ash, Flight Disruptions Over Soon Skip to content

Analysis of Iceland Ash, Flight Disruptions Over Soon

By Iceland Review

The ash emitted by the Grímsvötn volcano is very fine, although it is coarser than the ash from Eyjafjallajökull last year, as revealed by testing of the first samples of ash conducted by the University of Iceland Institute for Earth Sciences.


A beetle trying to find its way through the ash. Photo by Helga Jónsdóttir.

“We have collected ash all the way from Skálm in Mýrdalssandur to Skeidará in Skeidarársandur. The samples show that the ash has fine particles, although they are not as fine as in the Eyjafjallajökull ash,” geochemist Sigurdur Reynir Gíslason told Morgunbladid.

“On average 50-60 percent of the ash’s mass is smaller than 60 micrometers in diameter. We define ash which is below that limit as fine ash,” he added.

“The ash is light and can be airborne for days. The health protection limits lie by ten micrometers. The proportion of fine ash varies depending on samples but it lies between five and ten percent. In the Eyjafjallajökull ash the proportion was over 20 percent,” Gíslason explained.

He said the ash is mostly basalt; it doesn’t have a high content of crystals. “This type of ash melts when it is carried into airplane engines and then solidifies in the colder part of the engines and can thus shut them down.”

Gíslason estimated that it will take a few weeks to clear the pollution from the biosphere around the eruption.

Meteorologist Kristín Hermannsdóttir told that it appears as if disturbances to flights to and from Iceland are history.

However, there is still ash over north and east Iceland and ash might fall around the globe until after next weekend, so the ash from Grímsvötn will not stop bothering other nations just yet.

Click here for general information about the eruption in Grímsvötn from Promote Iceland.

Please note: The next issue of the print edition of Iceland Review will include extensive coverage of the eruption. If you subscribe now, you will receive a photo book by IR editor/photographer Páll Stefánsson of the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull as a gift.

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Follow for further news updates of the eruption. If you have any photos of the current Grímsvötn eruption and would like to see them published, please send them to [email protected] and [email protected].

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