Iceland Evacuates Area Near Rumbling Bardarbunga Volcano

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Image: Warning sign blocks road to Bardarbunga volcano in iceland
A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano, some 12.5 miles away, in the northwest region of Iceland's Vatnajokull glacier on August 19, 2014.STRINGER / Reuters

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STOCKHOLM - Iceland's civil protection agency has decided to evacuate a mostly uninhabited area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, saying it could not rule out an eruption. The move came after authorities on Monday warned airlines about increased seismic activity at Iceland's largest volcanic system. Ash from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days. "This decision is a safety measure," the agency said on its website late Tuesday. "It cannot be ruled out that the seismic activity in Bardarbunga could lead to a volcanic eruption."

All roads leading into the area were closed earlier in the week. Park rangers who live there during the summer and tourists were being evacuated. Authorities say the area north of the glacier risks being hit by floods as an eruption in the volcano, which is under the ice cap of the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland, would melt vast amounts of ice. Einar Einarsson, a meteorologist at Iceland's Met Office, said earthquakes were happening practically every minute and seismic activity was constant.

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