Volcano near Iceland’s main airport erupts again after series of earthquakes
A volcano in southwest Iceland began erupting on Wednesday, the country’s meteorological authorities said – just eight months after its last eruption officially ended.
The Icelandic Weather Bureau has urged people not to go near the Fagradalsfjall volcano, located about 32 kilometers southwest of the capital Reykjavik.
The eruption in an uninhabited valley is not far from Keflavik Airport, Iceland’s hub for international air travel. The airport remained open and no flights were disrupted.
A live video feed from the site showed magma spewing from a narrow fissure about 100 to 200 meters long over a lava field from last year’s eruption, the first on the Reykjanes Peninsula in nearly 800 years.
Scientists had been expecting an eruption somewhere on the peninsula after a series of earthquakes over the past week suggested volcanic activity near the crust.
Volcanologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson told The Associated Press that the eruption appeared to be small.
“But we don’t know where things are in the process,” he said as he boarded a helicopter for a first look.
The 2021 eruption in the same area produced spectacular lava flows for several months. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to see the spectacular sight.
Located above a volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic, Iceland has an eruption every four to five years on average.
Most disturbing recently was the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, sending clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere and disrupting air travel between Europe and North America for days over fears the ash could damage jet engines. More than 100,000 flights were grounded, stranding millions of passengers.
Shares of Iceland’s flagship airline, Icelandair, rose 6% on Wednesday after news of the eruption broke. Investors and residents alike were alarmed at the possibility of a much more devastating eruption in a populated area of the peninsula.