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Icelandic Volcano flings up ash, shuts airport

Laura Donovan Contributor

A year after an Icelandic volcano grounded planes across Europe, a spectacular new eruption flung up a miles-high ash plume that shut down the country’s main airport, plunged nearby areas into darkness and sent ash drifting toward European airspace.

The Grimsvotn (GREEMSH-votn) volcano, which lies beneath the ice of the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland, began erupting Saturday for the first time since 2004, sending ash, smoke and steam 12 miles (20 kilometers) into the air.

It was the volcano’s largest eruption in 100 years.

The ash from Grimsvotn — about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of the capital, Reykjavik — turned the sky black Sunday and rained down on nearby areas, covering buildings, cars and fields in a thick layer of gray soot. Civil protection workers helped farmers get their animals into shelter and urged residents to wear masks and stay indoors. No ash fell on the capital.

Full story: Icelandic Volcano flings up ash, shuts airport