DA lava fountain could even be seen from Reykjavik, which is about 40 kilometers away: Another volcano erupted in southwest Iceland on Thursday. Live video footage showed glowing lava pouring out of the fissure, illuminating a plume of smoke rising into the sky. The eruption occurred about five kilometers north of the town of Grindavik, population 4,000, which was evacuated on November 11, a spokesman for Iceland's civil defense said.
The fishing town was already evacuated on November 11. This is the third volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula since December 18. In the morning, a small earthquake occurred northeast of Sylingarfell, the Icelandic Meteorological Institute IMO said. Soon after, an eruption began in the area.
According to a preliminary assessment following a Coast Guard observation flight, the eruption occurred in the same area as on December 18, the IMO said. The volcanic fissure is about three kilometers long.
A column of smoke up to three kilometers high
“The lava fountains extend about 50 to 80 meters high and the plume of smoke about three kilometers high” above the fissure, he said. The lava flow appears to be “slightly lower” than when the eruption began on December 18.
This is the sixth volcanic eruption in Iceland in almost three years. The last eruption also took place near Grindaviks on January 14. The IMO warned of another eruption on Monday.
The location of the current eruption is “favorable” as it is north of Grindavik and no infrastructure is at risk, IMO seismologist Kristin Jonsdottir told broadcaster Ruv. In addition to Grindavik, the authorities are particularly monitoring the Svarsteng geothermal power plant, which supplies electricity and water to around 30,000 residents in the region. The volcanic fissure separating the lava is only about three kilometers away.
The power station is surrounded by “well-placed dams”, a civil defense spokesman told AFP. But if the volcano continues to spew large amounts of lava for a long time, “it could become a problem.”
The Blue Lagoon hot spring resort, popular among tourists, remained closed on Thursday. Vacationers at the resort were evacuated, the Ruv said, citing civil protection. “The situation is under control, there is no danger. The airport is secure. People are 100 percent safe,” said a civil defense spokesperson.
With more than 30 active volcanic systems, Iceland is the largest and most active volcanic region in Europe. The North Atlantic island nation is located on the so-called Mid-Atlantic ridge, which separates the Eurasian and North American plates.