Millions watch Iceland volcano eruption ... via webcam

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The Independent Online

Millions of people around the world have been tracking the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjjoell volcano minute-to-minute from their homes through webcams transmitting the activity live online.

More than four million Internet users from 150 countries have logged onto since the volcano began erupting on April 14 to watch the cloud of ash that has played havoc in European skies, the site's administrators said.

The figure is a record for an Icelandic website, they said, adding that traffic was boosted by the numerous international sites that have posted a link to the webcams.

Retiree Solveig Eyjolfsdottir told AFP she watched the eruption every day from her home in Reykjavik.

"It's fascinating, powerful and beautiful to watch but it makes me sad to think of all the farming land that is going to waste because of the ash," she said.

"This is a beautiful part of Iceland and it is being destroyed. People are loosing their life's work because of the ash," she added.

The webcams were installed to allow locals to tune in and check for themselves whether disaster was imminent.

Police in the area surrounding the volcano said however they did not rely on the cameras to alert them to danger because a rescue team and police had been permanently onsite since the eruption began more than a week ago.

But because the cameras broadcast the eruption live to the world, they have "spared (the police) many phone calls," police officer Atli Olafsson said.