Volatile Volcanoes Are Waking Up

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By Revathi Siva Kumar | September 2, 2014 5:59 PM EST

A tiny fissure between Iceland's Askja and Bardarbunga volcanoes began ejecting lava on Sunday, 7 a.m. The 3 m-thick stream began to swirl and flow for 3 kms in the northeast direction.

REUTERS/Armann Hoskuldsson
The lava flows on the the ground after the Bardabunga volcano erupted again on August 31, 2014. Scientists estimate the fissure to be at least 1.5 kilometres long. The lava is estimated to be six to eight metres thick and flowing at a rate of about 1,000 cubic metres per second. Iceland cut its ash warning level for aviation to orange from red on Sunday, saying a fresh fissure eruption in Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano system was not creating ash. Iceland's largest volcanic system, which cuts a 190 km long and up to 25 km wide (118 miles by 15.5 miles) swathe across the North Atlantic island, has been hit by thousands of earthquakes over the last two weeks and scientists have been on high alert. ? REUTERS/Armann?Hoskuldsson?

The University of Iceland says that the "highest fire fountains" exploded for 70 meters. But there is not too much ash, and it also did not melt the glacier or flood the area.

Initially, officials restricted the flight area around the area, but as the volcano did not become more serious, the restrictions were lifted.

Even last Friday, when Iceland just began to growl with the Bárđarbunga volcano, it scared everyone. It was capped by ice, called Vatnajokull. The threat was more volcanic than the region. Still, it continued to puff and smoke through ridges just above the Vatnajokull glacier. It created a lot of anxiety, but the eruption did not take place.

At another end of the world, in Mount Tavurvur, eastern Papua New Guinea, rocks and ashes shot up 60,000 feet or 18,288 meters last Friday. Residents fled their homes. Although no one seemed to be hurt in any way, some of them left town, while others have been asked to remain inside their houses after the eruption.

Steam was ejected by the volcano, which "occasionally boomed" according to David Flinn, a resident of Papua New Guinea, to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The region around the mountain was capped with ash, about half an inch thick. The volcano began with a low grumble, rising steadily into a "Strombolian [low level] eruption with incandescent projections." It rose higher, became explosive and soon the grumble turned into a loud rumble, according to the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory. Qantas Airways altered the paths for planes nosing towards Tokyo and Shanghai from Sydney, Australia.

The last explosion in Mount Tavarur was in 1994, along with another unfriendly neighboring volcano aspirant---Mount Vulcan. Both volcanoes decimated Rabaul in Papua New Guinea then.

(Photo: REUTERS/Armann Hoskuldsson / )
The lava flows on the the ground after the Bardabunga volcano erupted again on August 31, 2014. Scientists estimate the fissure to be at least 1.5 kilometres long. The lava is estimated to be six to eight metres thick and flowing at a rate of about 1,000 cubic metres per second. Iceland cut its ash warning level for aviation to orange from red on Sunday, saying a fresh fissure eruption in Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano system was not creating ash. Iceland's largest volcanic system, which cuts a 190 km long and up to 25 km wide (118 miles by 15.5 miles) swathe across the North Atlantic island, has been hit by thousands of earthquakes over the last two weeks and scientists have been on high alert. ? REUTERS/Armann?Hoskuldsson?
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