UNIVERSITY PARK — A potential looming eruption of Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano could jeopardize the Penn State football team’s long-planned season opening game in Ireland.
On Monday, the Icelandic Meteorological Office raised its alert level for airlines to orange — the fourth highest level on a five-point scale. On Tuesday, about 1,000 small earthquakes and additional seismic activity was reported by the IMO in the Bardarbunga region from midnight onward.
According to the IMO, an orange aviation alert level indicates a volcano “shows heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption.”
On Wednesday, the IMO updated the status on its website: “Intense earthquake swarm continues at Bardarbunga. Presently there are no signs of magma moving to the surface.”
In 2010, an eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano kept flights to and from Europe and over European airspace on the ground for six days due to the size and danger of the volcanic ash cloud.
Meanwhile, officials from Penn State and from their opponents at Central Florida said they are following the situation.
“We’re aware of that and we’re monitoring that situation,” Penn State Director of Football Operations Michael Hazel said. “We have to lean on United Airlines and the folks that are handling our cargo as it relates to that. That’s kind of out of our area of expertise.”
United Airlines did not respond to interview requests.
Meanwhile, UCF, which is the technically the host for the game that will be played at Dublin’s Croke Park, has not made possible contingency plans yet. Officials from Croke Park and the Gaelic Athletic Association have not responded to requests for interviews.
“We are aware of the situation of the volcano in Iceland and we are monitoring the situation,” UCF spokesman Brian Ormiston said.