• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Icelandic volcano flings ash, shuts airport

May 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Iceland has closed its main international airport after an eruption of the country's most active volcano.

The Grimsvotn volcano began erupting Saturday for the first time since 2004. Smoke and ash could be seen coming from the volcano in southeast Iceland.

Officials said the plume is covering buildings, cars and fields in Iceland and is blowing away from Europe toward Greenland.

An eruption from a different volcano in Iceland shut down European air traffic in April 2010 stranding millions of travelers.

This eruption is not expected to impact air travel as much.

President Barack Obama was flying Sunday night to Ireland, but there was no immediate word on whether the volcano would affect Air Force One's flight path.

The Grimsvotn volcano lies under the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of the capital, Reykjavik.

Sparsely populated Iceland is one of the world's most volcanically active countries and eruptions are frequent. Grimsvotn and Iceland's other major volcanoes lie on the Atlantic Rift, the meeting of the Euro and American continental plates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Load Comments