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PICTURES: Grimsvotn Volcano Erupts in Iceland PICTURES: Grimsvotn Volcano Erupts in Iceland PICTURES: Grimsvotn Volcano Erupts in Iceland PICTURES: Grimsvotn Volca...

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PICTURES: Grimsvotn Volcano Erupts in Iceland

A cloud of smoke and ash is seen over the Grimsvotn volcano on Iceland on Saturday.(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

May 23, 2011



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Iceland's most active volcano, Grímsvötn, erupted on Saturday for the first time since 2004, hurling a plume of steam and ash nearly 12 miles into the sky. People living next to the glacier where the Grímsvötn volcano burst into life were most severely affected, with ash blocking out the daylight and smothering buildings and vehicles. Iceland also closed its main international airport and canceled domestic flights on Sunday, and aviation officials will be closely monitoring European airspace for the next few days. The outburst is the volcano's most powerful since 1873—stronger than the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which caused trouble last year—but it may not cause the same degree of upheaval. Scientists say the type of ash being spewed out is less easily dispersed and winds have so far been more favorable than during last year's blast. Gathered here are a handful of images taken in the land of fire and ice over the weekend.

        

A cloud of smoke and ash rises over the Grímsvötn volcano on Saturday. The cloud rising up from the eruption was first seen around 7 p.m. GMT, and in less than an hour it had reached an altitude of 11 kilometers (6.8 miles), according to the Icelandic meteorological institute. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

   

        

The ash plume as captured by NASA's MODIS satellite on Sunday. (NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response)

   

        

Steam and ash plume from the Grímsvötn volcano, which lies under the Vatnajokull glacier, about 120 miles east of the capital, Reykjavik, on Saturday. (AP Photo/Jon Gustafsson)

   

        

Three lightning bolts appear in the clouds, fog, haze, and volcanic ash at the site of erupting Grímsvötn volcano on Sunday. Original here. (© Gunnar Gestur)

   

        

Erupting steam and ash interact with clouds above the Grímsvötn volcano. Photographer Jóhann Ingi Jónsson traveled to within 1 kilometer of the eruption site on Sunday evening to get these photos. Original here. (© Jóhann Ingi Jónsson)

   

        

Lightning strikes within the ash cloud above Grímsvötn volcano on Sunday. Photographer Jóhann Ingi Jónsson traveled with 4x4 Adventure Tours to within 1 kilometer of the eruption. Original here. (© Jóhann Ingi Jónsson)

   

        

A single lightning bolt climbs the ash cloud of erupting Grímsvötn volcano, seen from nearby Vatnajökull, on Sunday. Original here. (© Jóhann Ingi Jónsson)

   

        

Steam and ash rise from the Grímsvötn volcano on Saturday. (AP Photo/Halldora Kristin Unnarsdottir)

   

        

A plume of ash, steam, and volcanic gases rises from the Grímsvötn volcano on Saturday. (Reuters/Jon Gustafsson/Helicopter.is)

   

        

The sun sets beyond the rising ash cloud, seen from nearby Sprengisandur, on Sunday. Original here. (© Gunnar Gestur)

   

        

In this photo taken on Saturday, ash and steam erupt from Grímsvötn volcano, about 120 miles east of Reykjavik. (AP Photo, Jon Gustafsson)

   

        

This image of the rising ash cloud of Grímsvötn volcano comes from Eggert Norðdahl of Reykjavík. Norðdahl: "This was shot in raw format with a Canon digital camera and Sigma 'Bigma' 500 mm lens, no filters, from a mountaintop about 85 km (50 miles) from the eruption site. Much of Iceland's interior is still closed to traffic, I could only stay in area for a few hours as wind direction was changing and some ash was already coming our way." Original here. (© Eggert Norðdahl)

   

        

An image of the sun obscured by volcanic ash, taken by Úlfur Björnsson on Sunday. Björnsson: "I was hiking the biggest mountain in Iceland (Hvannadalshjúkur) and when we came down we saw the volcano erupting. We went to our camp and went to sleep, but the next morning everything was covered in ash and you could not see very much. Later in the day the ash clouds got a little bit thinner and I could see the sun through then. I grabbed my camera and took this photo." Original here. (© Úlfur Björnsson)

   

        

Icelandic photographer Robert Reynisson covers the volcano eruption at the edge of the ash fallout zone in Reykjavik on Sunday. (Reuters/Ingolfur Juliusson)

   

        

A tractor is seen through a cloud of ash at the Geirland farm near Kirkjubaejarklaustur, on Monday. (Reuters/Ingolfur Juliusson)

   

        

Tire tracks are pressed into a layer of volcanic ash outside a gas station in Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Reykjavik, on Sunday. (Reuters/Ingolfur Juliusson)

   

        

A car travels down a highway, immersed in total darkness due to an ash fallout, at the small town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Reykjavik, on Sunday. (Reuters/Ingolfur Juliusson)

   

        

Sheep move through a meadow on a farm during an ash fall in Mulakot, Iceland, on Sunday. (Reuters/ Ingolfur Juliusson)

   

        

A dead bird lies in volcanic ash on Highway One near the town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur in southeast Iceland, on Sunday. (Reuters/ Ingolfur Juliusson)

   

        

A farm beneath an ash colud in Thorvaldsstadir, southeast Iceland, on Sunday. (Reuters/ Ingolfur Juliusson)

   

        

The ash plume, captured by NASA's MODIS satellite on Monday. (NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response)

   

        

A sheep stands in an ash-covered field on a farm in Mulakot on Sunday. (Reuters/Ingolfur Juliusson)

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