Icelandic Volcano Erupts For Third Time Since December

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Reykjavik: A volcanic eruption started on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland on Thursday, the third to hit the area since December, authorities said.

Live video images showed glowing lava oozing out of a fissure illuminating a plume of smoke rising up under the night sky.

"At 5:30 this morning an intense seismic activity started north-east of Mt. Sylingarfell. Around 30 minutes later, a volcanic eruption started at the site," the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said in a statement.

IMO added that based on an initial assessment from a flyover by the Coast Guard, the fissure was about three kilometres (two miles) long.

It occurred in the same area as two previous eruptions -- the first on December 18 and the second on January 14 -- near the fishing village Grindavik.
On November 11, Grindavik was evacuated after hundreds of earthquakes damaged buildings and opened up huge cracks in roads.

Two cracks formed during the second eruption, with the second appearing right on the edge of town, sending orange lava flowing into the streets and reducing three homes to ashes.

Billowing smoke and flowing lava are seen pouring out of a new fissure in this Icelandic Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management , February 8, 2024. Photo by Icelandic Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management / AFP

Due to the volcanic eruptions, Grindavik's future has been shrouded in uncertainty for the last few months.

Reawakened system

"Lava flows mostly towards west at the moment and the flow seems to be slightly less than at the start of the 18th of December eruption," IMO said.

Fountains of lava reached about 50 to 80 metres in height and the volcanic plume rose about three kilometres above the fissure, IMO said.

Seismologist Kristin Jonsdottir said that the location of the new eruption was "fortunate" as it was north of Grindavik and away from infrastructure, RUV reported.

On Monday, the IMO said that magma accumulation beneath the area continued.

"Similar processes were observed before the previous dyke intrusions and eruptions north of Grindavik in January 2024 and December 2023," the agency said, noting that "there is an increased likelihood of a new magmatic dyke intrusion and ensuing volcanic eruption in the coming days to weeks."

Iceland's famed Blue Lagoon geothermal spa said it would be closed on Thursday due to the eruption, and broadcaster RUV reported that all guests staying at the resort had been evacuated.

Iceland is home to over 33 active volcano systems, the highest number in Europe.

It straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack in the ocean floor separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Until March 2021, the Reykjanes peninsula had not experienced an eruption for eight centuries.

Fresh eruptions occurred in August 2022, and July and December 2023, leading volcanologists to say it is probably the start of a new era of activity in the region.


The Peninsula

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