Iceland’s Reykjanes volcano erupts after weeks of activity, evacuations – National

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The Reykjanes volcano in southwest Iceland erupted on Monday, spewing lava and smoke into the air, after weeks of intense earthquake activity, the country’s Meteorological Office said.

Fearing a significant outbreak on the Reykjanes peninsula, authorities last month evacuated the nearly 4,000 inhabitants of the fishing town of Grindavik and closed the nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

“Warning: Eruption has started north of Grindavik by Hagafell,” the Met Office said on its website.

Images and a livestream broadcast by Reuters showed molten rock spewing like fountains from fissures in the ground, their bright-yellow and orange colors set in sharp contrast against the dark night sky.


The eruption of a volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula of south-west Iceland is viewed in this still image from a livestream video.


Reuters/Live From Iceland

The eruption of a volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula of south-west Iceland is viewed in this webcam image.


The eruption of a volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula of south-west Iceland is viewed in this webcam image.


Iceland Meteorological Office

Icelandic police said they had raised their alert level as a result of the outbreak and the country’s civil defense warned the public not to approach the area while emergency personnel assessed the situation.

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A coast guard helicopter was going to be in the air shortly to confirm the exact location and size of the eruption, the Met Office said.


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Reykjavik’s international airport, which is located nearby, remained open.

“At the moment, there are no disruptions to arrivals or departures at Keflavík Airport,” it said on its website.


The night sky is illuminated caused by the eruption of a volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula of south-west Iceland seen from the capital city of Reykjavik, Monday Dec. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gunnarsson).


People watch as the night sky is illuminated caused by the eruption of a volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula of south-west Iceland seen from the capital city of Reykjavik, Monday Dec. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gunnarsson).

The Reykjanes peninsula in recent years saw several eruptions in unpopulated areas, but the latest outbreak could pose a risk to the Grindavik town, authorities have said.

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The area had seen thousands of earthquakes in the last two months but the magnitudes had declined in recent week, leading some experts to think risk of an eruption had abated.

Reykjanes is a volcanic and seismic hot-spot southwest of the capital Reykjavik. In March 2021, lava fountains erupted spectacularly from a 500-to-750-metre-long fissure in the ground in the Fagradalsfjall volcanic system.


Click to play video: 'Iceland volcano: The science behind its looming eruption'


Iceland volcano: The science behind its looming eruption






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