LONDON — European air traffic control agencies are continuing to monitor the status of the Icelandic volcano, Bárðarbunga [Bardarbunga], where hundreds of earthquakes in recent days have signaled a possible impending eruption.

Icelandic authorities raised their aviation alert level on August 18 from yellow to orange following a swarm of around 1,200 earthquakes; several measuring higher than three on the Richter scale were recorded near the volcano.

Since Monday, a further 1,700 earthquakes have been recorded. According to experts, their strength has reduced, although officials say that many of them are continuing to take place at a depth of 5km or below, indicating that magma is not rapidly making its way to the surface.

Nonetheless, the Icelandic Met Office is keeping the orange warning in place because the volcano has the potential of producing an ash cloud if it erupts, which could be hazardous for aviation.

Barðarbunga — one of Iceland’s largest volcanic systems — sits underneath Iceland’s vast Vatnajokull glacier and has shown signs of activity over the last seven years, but it has not erupted since 1910.

The potential of an eruption prompted the Icelandic authorities to recall their single Bombardier Dash-8 patrol aircraft, operated by the Icelandic Coast Guard, from supporting European migration-policing operations in the Mediterranean so that it could use its sensors to monitor the volcano. The first mission near the volcano was carried out August 19.

Eurocontrol, the Europe-wide air traffic management service, says its staff are monitoring the situation and that European air traffic authorities are better prepared for the issue of volcanic ash than it was in 2010 following the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which disrupted more than 100,000 flights over six days.

“Every year, volcanic ash exercises are conducted and we learn from them: the latest one was held in April this year,” the agency said.

In the event of an eruption, the U.K. Met Office’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in London will issue advisories on ash cloud movement. The facility is one of nine in the world, each sharing a geographical region, with Iceland sitting in the London center’s purview.

Since the 2010 eruption, Iceland has introduced a five-tier warning system for the aviation community, using colors to display possible activity. Gray indicates a quiet volcano while red indicates that an eruption is imminent or in-progress.

The orange alert, issued for Barðarbunga, states that the volcano “shows heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption.”