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Scientists Battle Weather During Second Icelandic Volcano Eruption

By Mark Leberfinger, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
September 4, 2014; 4:25 AM ET

A second volcanic eruption occurred on Sunday morning in Iceland in the same area that had one on Friday. However, as the remains of former Hurricane Cristobal cross the country, bad weather is making it difficult for scientists to fully assess the situation.

Earthquakes continued on Sunday around the area. A no-fly order was reestablished for the region but has since been discontinued, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

The new eruption started in Holuhraun, north of the Dyngjujökull Glacier, which is located in northern Vatnajökull, around 5:15 a.m. local time on Sunday, the Met Office said. It is along the same volcanic fissure that appeared on Friday morning.

The Met Office continued to state that the eruptive fissure is longer than Friday's eruption and a very calm but continuous lava eruption is under way.

No volcanic ash had been detected with the radar system in the area, they stated. A few hours after the eruption, reports list the airborne ash particles are minimal.

The Aviation Color Code was raised back to Code Red after Sunday's eruption began; however, after the most recent observations of the volcano showed no signs of ash, the Met Office once again lowered to Code Orange.

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Because of the poor weather conditions across the country, due to the remains of former Hurricane Cristobal, the Icelandic Met Office states that direct observations of the eruption were limited through Monday which has made it difficult to follow the progression of the eruption. Despite this, scientists are still in the area gathering as much information as possible.

The weather has also made the detection of smaller earthquakes challenging and has prevented at least one flyover of the volcano.

A second eruption occurred Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, at the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland. (Photo/Benedikt Gunnar Ófeigsson/Icelandic Meteorological Office)

Unsettled weather will continue through the middle of the week, however improving conditions are expected with scattered showers and lessening winds.

A more tranquil weather pattern is expected during the second half of the week, allowing scientists to better monitor the situation.

If a larger eruption follows in the coming days, the resultant ash and debris may seriously impact international travel.

If such an eruption occurs and ash and debris is spewing into the atmosphere, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Tyler Roys stated that, "Disruptions to air travel could result across the northern Atlantic Ocean through Wednesday due to the wind circulation around a storm system that has absorbedonce-Hurricane Cristobal."

Ice crevasses formed on Wednesday in advance of Friday's eruption, officials from the Met Office, the Institute of Earth Sciences and Civil Protection, said. The crevasses or cauldrons were likely formed due to melting at the ice bottom.

The largest of 1,100 earthquakes recorded between midnight and 6:30 p.m., local time, a magnitude-5.4 earthquake was reported at 7:03 a.m. on Saturday in the Bardarbunga area, the Met Office reported.

Aviation Color Code Map For Iceland on Sunday (Courtesy of the Icelandic Meteorological Office)

In 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland spewed ash into European airspace, leading to thousands of flight cancellations which impacted millions.

Airlines lost almost $2 billion due to the canceled flights, according to Bloomberg News.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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