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Iceland volcano erupts on Reykjanes Peninsula

A state of emergency has been declared in Grindavík as 50 metre high lava jets spewed into the sky along a 1km fissure.

A volcano in the southern Peninsula district of Iceland has erupted for the fifth time in the past six months.

People in the small town of Grindavík, tourists at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and workers at the power plant in Svartsengi were evacuated before the eruption on Wednesday.

Mayor of Grindavík Fannari Jónassyni said the volcanic eruption flowing towards the Capital of Reykjanes Peninsula is happening at “a much larger volume that’s on the move right now headed for town”.

“There are two ways out of three, so there is a large amount on the way there and a lot of flow that the lava has already conquered.”

Icelandic Police announced a state of emergency on Saturday after reports of earthquakes north of Grindavík, with the eruption taking place around 1pm yesterday. Residents were evacuated, with three choosing to stay behind.

The Met Office said there were 50 metre high lava jets spewing out into the sky along a 1km fissure.

Since then, a second fissure opened, with eruption plumes rising as high as 3.4km, estimated to have an extrusion rate of 1,500-2,000 at the start of the eruption.

Professor of geophysics Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson told the RUV that this eruption had flowed over Grindavík and Nesvegur roads, but is unlikely to reach town.

“Probably, this is now being avoided for the most part. Naturally, there has been significant damage, as has been stated in various places. On the pipes and roads and various things,” he said.

The Blue Lagoon and Grindavík were previously evacuated earlier this month following a volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula.

In November last year, 1,400 earthquakes were measured in 24 hours.

Iceland is one of the most active volcano areas with a rift valley rather than a central volcano. Currently, it has 35 active volcanoes known as Holocene volcanos on the island nation. They have been dormant for the past 11,650 years, since the end of the most recent ice age.


Photo: A Volcano Erupting by Koen Swiers is available HERE and is used under a Creative Commons Licence. This image has not been modified.

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