Ash Fall in South Iceland Not as Bad as Feared Skip to content

Ash Fall in South Iceland Not as Bad as Feared

Ólafur Arnalds, a professor at the Agricultural University of Iceland, said the ash fall situation in the countryside south of the eruption site in Eyjafjallajökull glacier is not as bad as originally assumed.

The ash cloud approaches a farmstead in south Iceland on Saturday. Photo by Bjarni Brynjólfsson.

However, at a few farms below the Eyjafjöll mountain range, which suffered the most extensive ash fall, some restorative measures must be taken, Arnalds told Morgunbladid.

At other farms, rain will wash the ash away and farmers will be able to produce hay in the coming summer. The condition of the pastures at each farm must be evaluated separately, the professor said.

Thorvaldur Thórdarson, professor in volcanology at the University of Edinburgh, explained in an interview on RÚV’s news magazine Kastljós last night that if the ash layer is thinner than ten centimeters it will not damage pastures.

On the contrary, once the ash is carried into the soil it becomes a fertilizer and will encourage the growth of grass in the long term. Ash is in fact the reason for the Icelandic soil being so fertile, Thórdarson said.

Even at the farms that suffered the most ash fall, the ash layer is no thicker than five or six centimeters. However, where the layer has become hard and cement-like, it has to be broken up so that it can more easily be incorporated into the soil, and not all pastures will be suited for haymaking this year.

The Agriculture Emergency Fund will be used to compensate farmers who have suffered financial damage because of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, RÚV reports.

The situation of farmers in south Iceland was discussed at a cabinet meeting yesterday where it was decided that the government would do everything in its power to ensure that the countryside below the Eyjafjöll mountain range will remain habitable.

The southernmost crater in Eyjafjallajökull glacier has now become inactive and the force of the eruption is only ten percent of what it was in the first days, geophysicist Magnús Tumi Gudmundsson told Morgunbladid.

The situation of aviation in the UK improved last night when the London Heathrow airport was reopened after a five day flight ban in British airspace.

Almost immediately after the airport reopened at 9 pm, the first airplane arrived. The first plane to land after the flight ban was lifted came from Vancouver, Canada.

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