Iceland issues red alert after new eruption near volcano; airports stay open

Steam and smoke rise over a 1-km-long fissure in a lava field north of the Vatnajokull glacier, which covers part of the Bardarbunga volcano system, on Aug 29, 2014. Iceland on Sunday, Aug 31, raised its aviation alert over its largest volcano t
Steam and smoke rise over a 1-km-long fissure in a lava field north of the Vatnajokull glacier, which covers part of the Bardarbunga volcano system, on Aug 29, 2014. Iceland on Sunday, Aug 31, raised its aviation alert over its largest volcano to the highest level of red after a new eruption nearby. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

REYKJAVIK (AFP) - Iceland on Sunday raised its aviation alert over its largest volcano to the highest level of red after a new eruption nearby.

The alert entails a ban on all flights below 6,000 feet (1.8 km) within a radius of 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) of Bardarbunga.

"All airports are open. The area has no effect on any airports," the Civil Protection Office said in a statement.

Sunday was the third time in a week that Iceland issued a red alert for aviation due to seismic activity near Bardarbunga.

The latest eruption happened roughly in the same area of another eruption on Friday, the authorities said.

Bardarbunga, in the south-east of the country, is Iceland's second-highest peak.

A major explosion at Bardarbunga, located under Europe's largest glacier, could signal a replay of the global travel chaos triggered when another Icelandic peak blew four years ago, unleashing a massive ash cloud across Europe.

The eruption of Eyjafjoell, a smaller volcano, in April 2010 left more than eight million people stranded in the widest airspace shutdown since World War II.