Iceland building dikes to cope with volcano’s lava flow

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

Iceland is making permanent changes to its infrastructure as a defence against increased volcanic activity.

A volcano in Iceland has erupted for the fourth time since December, the country’s meteorological office said, spewing bright-orange lava into the air.

Scientists fear they could continue for decades, and Icelandic authorities have started building dikes to divert burning lava flows away from homes, roads power hubs.

Authorities have warned for weeks that an eruption was imminent on the Reykjanes peninsula, just south of Iceland’s capital. It is the seventh outbreak in the area since 2021.

The volcano last erupted in early February, cutting off district heating to more than 20,000 people as lava flows destroyed roads and pipelines, while an outbreak in January burned to the ground several houses in a fishing town.

Dozens of sites

Located between the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates, among the largest on the planet, Iceland is a seismic and volcanic hot spot as the two plates move in opposite directions.

Volcanic outbreaks in the Reykjanes peninsula are so-called fissure eruptions, which do not usually cause large explosions or significant dispersal of ash into the stratosphere

Iceland, which is roughly the size of the US state of Kentucky, boasts 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.

In 2010, ash clouds from eruptions at the Eyafjallajokull volcano in the south of Iceland spread over large parts of Europe, grounding some 100,000 flights and forcing hundreds of Icelanders to evacuate their homes.

-with AAP

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