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Katla still quiet as European ash cloud dissipates

By By AccuWeather.com Staff Writer Jon Auciello
May 24, 2010, 12:52:39 PM EDT

Katla, the larger, fiercer neighbor of the volcano creating the ash cloud responsible for closing Europe's skies, remains inactive.

"Katla still shows no signs of geophysical activity," said Peter La Femina, Assistant Professor of Geoscience at the Pennsylvania State University, on Monday.

Officials from the Icelandic Meteorological Office have stated that Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano causing the ash clouds, has gone dormant, allowing European airways to reopen.

"There is no ash coming up and no lava," Icelandic meteorological office geographer Sigthrudur Armannsdottir told Reuters. "The volcano is dormant at the moment, but we are not ready to declare the eruption over."

La Femina confirmed there was minimal activity at Eyjafjallajokull.

"As of this morning, the eruption appears to have stopped with just a minor steam plume to several kilometers," he said. "This does not mean that it will not start again."

Geoscientists have been keeping an eye on Eyjafjallajokull because of a possible connection to eruptions from Katla, a larger, neighboring volcano.

Katla, located approximately 17 miles (27 km) to the east of Eyjafjallajokull, is a vaster volcano system capable of inflicting far more dramatic eruptions.

La Femina classified Katla's last major eruption in 1918 as "very, very explosive."

Each of the past three eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull in 920, 1612 and from 1821 to 1823 have been followed by eruptions from Katla.

While a historical connection between eruptions at Eyjafjallajokull triggering activity in Katla can be made, La Femina is not convinced the two are directly related. He said their relationship is not fully understood, citing the difference in magma composition at each volcano.

Eruptions from Eyjafjallajokull have been erratic, canceling thousands of flights across Europe for days at a time for the past few months.

The volcano's activity has been known to last for years before ending, so just because it has ceased spewing ash and lava at the moment, does not mean it has stopped altogether.

"During the last eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 1821, the eruption actually lasted from 1821 to 1823," La Femina told AccuWeather.com in April.

"It could go on for a year, it could stop tomorrow. We just don't know."

Related to the story: Icelandic volcano showing reduced activity 'Explosive' Katla could affect global temperatures Visit our Facebook Fan Page Follow us on Twitter Breaking Weather International Weather with Jim Andrews

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