Iceland volcano erupts for 6th time since 2021

Fri, 9 Feb 2024 5:49 GMT
Volcanologists believe volcanic eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula heralds new era of volcanic activity in Iceland.
Iceland volcano erupts for 6th time since 2021

A volcano erupted on Thursday in the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland for the second time this year, making it the sixth outbreak since 2021.

The northeast Sylingarfell region was rattled by low-intensity trimmers 30 minutes before the volcano began spewing thick smoke and lava at 5:30 a.m. local time (0530GMT), the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said in a statement.

The first images suggest that the eruption occurred in a similar location to the one on Dec. 18, 2023, with "the (lava) flow seems to be slightly less than at the start of the 18th of December eruption," it said.

As a precaution, the nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a popular tourist destination, shut down on Thursday, the Met Office said.

The town of Grindavik is not in immediate danger, public broadcaster RUV said.

Icelandic authorities began constructing dykes last November to divert flowing lava away from residences and critical infrastructure.

Future eruptions remain a possibility due to the continual rise in ground elevation caused by magma accumulation beneath the surface.

With over 30 active volcanic systems, Iceland has the highest concentration in Europe.

Sitting astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a giant crack in the Earth's ocean floor dividing the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, Iceland has always been a hotspot for geological activity.

However, the Reykjanes peninsula remained eerily quiet for an impressive 800 years, until March 2021. That is when the ground rumbled back to life, spewing molten rock in a dramatic eruption.

Fresh eruptions occurred in Aug. 2022, as well as in July and Dec. 2023.

Volcanologists believe that volcanic eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula heralds a new era of volcanic activity in Iceland.


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