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March 22, 2010

Icelandic Volcano Causes Big Eruption

REYKJAVIK: Yet another reality, a volcano spouting lava in the south of Iceland showed signs of increased activity on Monday, leading scientists to warn it could trigger a far more powerful eruption at a nearby geological hotspot.

Icelandic VolcanoThe eruption near the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which began shortly before midnight on Saturday, sent steam 4 kilometres up in the air & is gradually intensifying, geophysicist Steinunn Jakobsdottir told a local newspaper.

Another scientist said he was concerned the activity could cause an eruption at Mount Katla, an "enormously powerful" volcano lying under a glacier nearby.

"Eyjafjallajokull hardly makes a move without Mount Katla wanting to get in on the action," said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland. "It is therefore of utmost importance to watch events carefully."

An eruption at Mount Katla could melt huge amounts of ice & cause massive floods, potentially affecting a town of 300 people nearby, Einarsson added. Three previous eruptions at Eyjafjallajokull 've triggered eruptions at Mount Katla.

On Sunday, rescue teams evacuated 500 people from the rural area around the volcano & police declared a local state of emergency. International flights were diverted because of the risk of interference from ash clouds. No injuries or damage to property were reported.

Iceland sits on a volcanic hotspot in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge & has relatively frequent eruptions, though most occur in sparsely populated areas & pose little danger to people or property. The last eruption in Iceland took place in 2004.

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