Icelandic volcano erupts again, molten rocks pour out of cracks By Reuters


©Reuters. A volcano belches lava and smoke as it erupts on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, February 8, 2024. Icelandic Civil Defence/Handout via REUTERS


By Stine Jacobsen and Terje Solsvik

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – A volcano in Iceland erupted on Thursday for the second time this year, spewing lava up to 80 meters high in what is the sixth outbreak on the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula since 2021.

Live video from the area showed fountains of bright orange molten rock pouring out of cracks in the ground, in stark contrast to the still dark night sky.

“Warning: A volcanic eruption has begun north of Sylingarfell,” the country’s weather office said on its website.

The intense seismic activity began around 5:30 a.m. and the actual outbreak began about 30 minutes later, he added.

The eruptive fissure was about 3km (2 miles) long, the Met Office said, adding that the outbreak was believed to have occurred in the same location as the December 18 eruption.

The nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa was closed Thursday, he said.

Reykjanes epidemics are so-called fissure eruptions which are often referred to as Icelandic type. They usually do not cause large explosions or significant production of ash dispersed into the stratosphere.

Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport is open and operating “in the usual way”, airport operator Isavia said on its website.

The previous eruption in the area began on January 14 and lasted about two days, with lava flows reaching the outskirts of the fishing village of Grindavik, whose almost 4,000 inhabitants had been evacuated, setting fire to some houses.

The Sylingarfell mountain lies north of Grindavik, but it was not immediately clear whether Thursday’s outbreak will hit the village or a nearby power station.

Icelandic authorities in November began building dams that can help divert burning lava flows away from homes and critical infrastructure.

Despite the downgrading of the volcanic system’s threat level, local authorities have warned of further eruptions as the ground in the area continues to rise due to the accumulation of magma underground.

Iceland, which is about the size of the US state of Kentucky, boasts more than 30 active volcanoes, making the northern European island a prime destination for volcano tourism, a niche segment that attracts thousands of thrill-seekers.

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