17 Apr 2010

Fresh flooding near Icelandic volcano

7:58 pm on 17 April 2010

Fresh flooding has occurred around the erupting volcano of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland, prompting the second evacuation of people in 48 hours.

About 700 people were evacuated to the small town of Hvolsvollur from isolated rural homes near the volcano, which is under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier.

The BBC reports flooding has cut the coastal road from the area to the capital Reykjavik.

A plume of ash has spread across northern Europe from the volcano but, although the eruption is continuing, there have been no earth tremors since Thursday evening.

The last eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano was on 20 March, when a 0.5km fissure opened on the eastern side of the glacier at the Fimmvoerduhals Pass.

18th-century eruption worst in country's history

A fifth of Iceland's population was wiped out by a volcanic eruption 227 years ago . The BBC reports that the Laki eruption is the worst catastrophe in the country's history: 10,000 people died. Many more died in Europe also.

Laki is a volcanic system in the same south-eastern part of Iceland where this week's eruption took place.

The eruption, which began on Sunday 8 June 1783 and lasted eight months, produced a huge cloud of sulphuric acid droplets that drifted through Norway, Germany, France and across to Britain, where, according to research into parish records, it killed more than 20,000 people during the summer of 1783.

An eruption in 1821 continued intermittently for more than a year.