Lava flows as Iceland volcano erupts again

The volcano has now erupted seven times in as many months.

The volcano has now erupted seven times in as many months. Photo: Iceland Civil Defence/Getty

A volcano in Iceland has erupted for the second time this year, pumping lava up to 80 metres into the air in the sixth outbreak on the south-western Reykjanes peninsula since 2021.

Live video from the area showed fountains of bright-orange molten rock spewing from fissures in the ground, in sharp contrast to the night sky.

Intense earthquake activity began about 5.30 am on Thursday and the outbreak itself started about 30 minutes late, the Iceland meteorological office said.

The eruptive fissure was roughly three kilometres long, closing the nearby geothermal spa Blue Lagoon.

The previous eruption in the area started on January 14 and lasted roughly two days, with lava flows reaching the outskirts of the Grindavik fishing town, destroying some homes and forcing the evacuation of about 4000 residents.

The latest eruption took place some way from Grindavik and was unlikely to pose a direct threat to the town, Icelandic geophysicist Ari Trausti Gudmundsson told Reuters.

“But it could pose some threat to the road to Grindavik and it could pose some threat to the power plant and even to the Blue Lagoon,” he said, adding that the risk depended on how much lava ultimately flowed from the ground.

The Reykjanes outbreaks are so-called fissure eruptions which are often referred to as Icelandic-type.

They do not usually result in large explosions or significant production of ash dispersed into the stratosphere.

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

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

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

Iceland has more than 30 active volcanoes, making the north European island a prime destination for volcano tourism – a niche segment that attracts thousands of thrill seekers.

-Reuters, with DPA

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