ICELAND, REYKJAVIK - The Icelandic volcano which has caused air traffic chaos in Europe was erupting steadily on Tuesday but was emitting more lava and less ash than previously, creating a lower cloud of ash, the meteorological office said.
"It is ongoing, it is steady, it seems to be mainly like it was yesterday. We got news last night that there was more lava now," met office geographer Sigtrudur Arnsdottir told Reuters.
Meteorologist Bjorn Einarsson agreed and said the emission of more lava meant the volcano, erupting under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier about 120 km southeast of the capital Reykjavik, was producing less ash.
"The tremors in the volcano have been slightly increasing, but that does not give any indication of the amount of the ash cloud. It has changed into a lava producing eruption," he told Reuters.
"The ash cloud is much less because you do not have the water to mix with it. You can still have a lot of tremors going around the volcano beause the lava is coming out," he added.
"We had a report from a pilot about an hour ago that the plume was at 16,000 feet (4,877 metres). It seems to us that most of it is lower," he added.
The plume had earlier been as high as 6,000 metres.
An Icelandic web camera showed a steady stream of smoke coming from the volcano and rising into the air in huge clouds.
British air traffic controllers said overnight that a new ash cloud was heading for major air routes, and some countries closed airports anew or limited use of their airspace.
"The volcanic eruption in Iceland has strengthened and a new ash cloud is spreading south and east towards the UK," NATS, Britain's National Air Traffic Services, said in its overnight statement.
"This demonstrates the dynamic and rapidly changing conditions in which we are working."
Einarsson said that although the dynamics of the volcano might have changed, the ash cloud takes time to spread from the north Atlantic island to other areas.
"It takes time for the ash cloud to travel from Iceland. Ash that came up yesterday might be arriving today," he said. - Reuters