HomeLatest NewsIceland volcano starts spewing lava on Reykjanes peninsula forcing emergency evacuation

Iceland volcano starts spewing lava on Reykjanes peninsula forcing emergency evacuation

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REYKJANES PENINSULA: A volcanic eruption occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland following weeks of intense earthquake activity.

The Icelandic Met Office reported that the eruption started north of the town of Grindavik at 22:17 local time. Approximately 4,000 people were evacuated from Grindavik earlier this month, with the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa nearby being closed as a precaution.

The eruption, located about 4km northeast of Grindavik, is not anticipated to cause the same level of disruption as the 2010 event that halted European air travel.

The seismic activity, which had been increasing since late October around the capital Reykjavik, culminated in the eruption, with lava flowing at a rate of 100 to 200 cubic meters per second.

Images and videos on social media captured the spectacle of lava bursting from the volcano shortly after an earthquake swarm was detected.

The glow from the eruption was visible in Reykjavik, about 42km away, with one eyewitness describing half of the sky in the direction of Grindavik as “lit up in red.”

Police have issued warnings to stay away from the affected area, emphasising the potential danger. The crack in the volcano spans approximately 3.5km, and the lava flow is significantly higher than in previous eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula in recent years.

Iceland’s foreign minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, assured that there were no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland, with international flight corridors remaining open.

Volcanologist Dr Evgenia Ilyinskaya, speaking from Iceland, noted that the eruption is not expected to generate the same ash clouds as the 2010 event. Authorities are, however, preparing for potential lava flows that could pose a threat to homes and infrastructure.

Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir highlighted the positive impact of recently constructed defences, expressing hope for the best outcome despite the “significant event.”

President Gudni Johannesson stressed that safeguarding lives remains the top priority, with efforts directed towards protecting structures from the impact of the eruption. AFP

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