Tourists evacuated amid Iceland volcano concerns

August 20, 2014
This is a Saturday May 8 2010 file image taken from video of a column of ash rising from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano. It was reported Tueday Aug. 19, 2014 that thousands of small intense earthquakes are rocking Iceland amid concerns that one of the country's volcanoes may be close to erupting. Iceland has raised its aviation alert level for the risk of a possible volcanic eruption to orange _ the second-most severe level. The alert is worrisome because of the chaos that followed the April 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokul, when more than 100,000 flights were cancelled because volcanic ash floating in the atmosphere is considered an aviation safety hazard. (AP Photo/ APTN)

Authorities have evacuated tourists from an area north of Iceland's largest glacier amid increased seismic activity around a volcano in the past few days.

Iceland's Civil Protection Department says 300-500 people, mostly visitors, have been evacuated from the highlands north of the Vatnajokull glacier. The area is uninhabited, but popular with hikers in the summer.

Officials said Wednesday the measure was taken as a following thousands of small earthquakes in recent days near Bardarbunga, a subglacial stratovolcano under the glacier. Roads in the area have been closed amid fears that an eruption could lead to serious flooding.

The prospect of a is worrisome because of the international aviation chaos that followed the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokul volcano, when more than 100,000 flights were cancelled.

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