A volcanic eruption in Iceland forced the closure of airspace over and around the country’s main airport, a spokeswoman for Keflavik International Airport said Sunday.
“The airport itself is not closed, but no planes will be taking off or landing,” Hjordis Gudmunsdottir told CNN, saying officials would reassess the situation later on Sunday.
There is currently “no impact on European or transatlantic flights,” and none was expected on Sunday, Europe’s umbrella air traffic control association Eurocontrol said.
Last year, another Icelandic eruption, of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull, attracted worldwide attention after its ash cloud disrupted air travel across Europe.
The Grimsvotn volcano under the Vatnajokull glacier erupted Saturday, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
A dark cloud of smoke was rising from the glacier, and scientists were flying over the scene to evaluate the event, according to CNN affiliate TV2 Iceland.
The last eruption of the volcano was in 2004, TV2 Iceland reported.
Sitrun Kapitola, manager of the Islandia Hotel Nupar, which is close to Saturday’s eruption, said she could see a cloud of smoke over the mountains, and ash was falling around the hotel.
Police were telling her and others that there was no need to evacuate and there was nothing to fear, Kapitola said.
“We see it very well,” she said.
Tourists at the hotel were excited to see the eruption, watching the events unfold while eating dinner, she said.
“It happens every 10 years,” she said. “It mostly produces water.”
Grimsvotn is Iceland’s most frequently active volcano. In 1783, a 16.7-mile fissure system from the volcano produced the world’s largest known historical lava flow over a seven-month period, damaging crops and livestock, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. A resulting famine resulted in the loss of one-fifth of Iceland’s population, according to the Smithsonian website.
“It’s nothing compared to the other one,” she added, referring to last year’s dramatic eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull.