The Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland continues to put on quite a show, with lava pouring out of a gash, or fissure, in the ground.
The latest fissure eruption, which began on Sunday, could go on for weeks, if not longer. It may also lead to a greater hazard — an explosive eruption that sends large clouds of ash into the air and melts glacial ice, causing flooding.
Such ash clouds are hazardous to modern jet aircraft, and an explosive eruption in Iceland could snarl trans-Atlantic air traffic again — as when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010.
While ash is not billowing skyward, lots of potentially deadly sulfur dioxide gas is. Scientists working in the vicinity of the volcano are being told to wear masks and minimize their exposure.
According to scientists who have been closely monitoring the Bardarbunga volcano, and now its close neighbor known as the Askja volcano, it is not yet clear how the eruption, which so far has resembled the relatively benign events regularly seen on the volcanic slopes of Hawaii, is going to evolve.
According to volcano blogger Erik Klimetti of Wired.com, the flow rate of lava from the ground is about half that of Niagara Falls.
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