July 13, 2024
Iceland Volcano Erupts Close to Grindavik After Weeks of Earthquakes

A volcano in southwestern Iceland, the nation’s most populated area, started erupting Monday with lava fountains reaching excessive within the air and the glow lighting up the sky miles away within the middle of the capital, Reykjavik.

The placement of the fissure, which is a few 2.5 miles lengthy and rising rapidly, isn’t removed from the Svartsengi Energy Plant and the city of Grindavík, which was evacuated final month due to heightened seismic exercise, resulting in considerations than an eruption was possible.

Within the preliminary evaluation Monday evening, volcanologists had mentioned that the eruption had occurred in one of many worst potential places, posing a major and quick risk to each the evacuated city and the geothermal energy plant.

However after volcanologists had an opportunity to fly over the location of the eruption within the Reykjanes Peninsula, the quick scenario didn’t seem as dire as initially feared, although the scale of the eruption was bigger than anticipated and the path of the lava’s stream nonetheless unpredictable.

“That is bigger than earlier eruptions on Reykjanes,” Magnus Gudmundsson, a volcanologist and among the many first folks to view the eruption from the air, informed The New York Occasions.

Lava is at the moment flowing simply 2.5 kilometers north of Grindavík, or 1.6 miles, in line with Kristín Jonsdottir, the pinnacle of the volcanic exercise division on the Icelandic Meteorological Workplace.

Nevertheless massive the eruption, with the city of Grindavík evacuated, it at the moment poses no danger to folks, a police official, Ulfar Ludviksson, informed reporters.

Nonetheless, the authorities have been cautioning folks to not get too shut. Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, a spokeswoman for the Division of Civil Safety, urged folks to steer clear of the realm, emphasizing this was “no vacationer volcano.”

“The fissure dimension is increasing quick,” she mentioned in an interview.

Whereas an eruption had been anticipated for weeks, following a sequence of earthquakes, Monday’s eruption got here with none quick advance warning. The Blue Lagoon, one in all Iceland’s high vacationer locations and situated close by, had reopened for visitors on Sunday as concern that an eruption was imminent had diminished.

Hundreds of earthquakes had been detected in Iceland since late October, in line with the Icelandic Meteorological Workplace. In November, with properties and roads being broken, the authorities declared a state of emergency and evacuated Grindavik, a city of greater than 3,000 folks close to the volcano.

In simply the previous two years, there have been 4 eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland’s most populated nook and residential to its capital. When Grindavik was ordered evacuated on Nov. 11, the authorities mentioned in a press release that the nation was “extremely ready for such occasions.”

“Iceland has one of many world’s best volcanic preparedness measures,” it mentioned on its web site.

The authorities raised the aviation alert to orange, as a result of a volcanic eruption may pose a danger to plane flying within the North Atlantic if ash spewed into the sky.

However as of Monday evening, Iceland’s essential airport, Keflavik, remained open, with this eruption not producing flight-stopping ash.

One of the memorable eruptions in Iceland’s latest previous concerned the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010. Whereas that eruption was comparatively small and triggered no fatalities, the influence was widespread as a result of a ensuing ash cloud grounded a lot of Europe’s air journey for greater than every week.

The Eyjafjallajokull (pronounced EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl) volcano had been dormant for almost two centuries earlier than it sprang again to life greater than 13 years in the past.

Volcanic eruptions aren’t unusual in Iceland, which has fewer than 400,000 residents and about 130 volcanoes. For the reason that nineteenth century, not a decade has passed by with out one, Iceland’s vacationer web site tells guests. The prevalence of eruptions stays “solely random.”

The nation straddles two tectonic plates, that are themselves divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten scorching rock, or magma.

The present seismic exercise has not affected one in all Iceland’s best-known volcanoes, Katla, which some scientists fear is due for an eruption. Katla has erupted 5 occasions since 1721, at intervals starting from 34 to 78 years. The final main one was in 1918.

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