Iceland Volcano Emits More Lava, Less Ash

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The volcano in Iceland, which caused havoc within the airline industry, is continuing to quiet down. While it is still erupting, the nature of the emissions has changed. More lava is being produced now and less ash is being emitted.


We're about to get an update now on that volcano in Iceland. With many travelers still stranded and companies unable to ship goods in or out of much of Europe, NPR's Joe Palca joins us now from Reykjavik. Good morning.

JOE PALCA: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So what is the latest, Joe?

PALCA: Well, the latest is that this volcano is continuing to quiet down. The amount of material it's spewing out began decreasing on Sunday, and it's remaining fairly low. That doesn't mean the eruption is ending, but it does mean that the nature of the eruption has changed. There seems to be more lava being produced and less ash being produced.

And we just learned something interesting from a briefing. Last night, there were reports of a second plume flowing toward Europe, and it turns out that apparently what that was is, there was some ash that was being carried from the volcano that was fresh and had just - and was just coming out and heading toward Europe. But there was also some ash that had fallen onto the ground and the winds were so strong yesterday that that ash, which had already fallen on the ground here in Iceland, was sort of kicked up into the air and formed a second plume, which seemed to be heading toward Europe.

MONTAGNE: And there's an irony here - I guess you could put it that way - in that because the ash is flowing toward Europe, it has not affected the airports there in Iceland.

PALCA: That's right. We just heard that Iceland - the airport here is fine; going in and out is fine, as long as you're going in the right direction. The flights to the U.S. are all going. There's a couple flights going into Glasgow and Edinburgh and Oslo, but some have been canceled. So far, not looking too bad today here in Iceland.

MONTAGNE: And Joe, Iceland has just spent months being something of a bad guy because its banking collapse caused a lot of economic pain to Europe. How are people there responding to being the source of all this new trouble?

PALCA: Well, I think it's I think they're feeling that at least this time, it's not affecting them so much. It seems to be affecting others and frankly, they feel that southern Europe stuck it to them for high interest rates for the problems that they had with the banking system here. And so they're not feeling all that sad that they're sticking it to somebody else. But that's just my impression. You'd have to go and survey the country more before I'd say that for sure.

MONTAGNE: Yeah. Well, then of course, it is a natural disaster.

PALCA: That's right. They say, what are we supposed to do about it? It's a volcano.

MONTAGNE: OK. Well, thank you very much, Joe.

PALCA: You're welcome, Renee.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Joe Palca, joining us from Reykjavik, Iceland.

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