Iceland activates contingency plans following volcano eruption


An eruption started again at Fagradalsfjall on August 3, 2022. Here is the view from Langhóll.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Contingency plans have been activated in Iceland after a volcano erupted on Wednesday, with incandescent lava flows bubbling in a widely expected event following a wave of seismic activity.

The eruption began near Fagradalsfjall mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula southwest of Reykjavik, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in the afternoon.

White smoke first rose from the earth before incandescent magma emerged, live footage from Iceland’s RUV broadcaster showed, with lava gushing from an extensive fissure in the Geldingadalur valley.

A leading volcanologist said the fissure was several hundred meters long, in comments to RUV. It was initially not possible to estimate the magnitude that the eruption would reach.

Local officials have contingency plans in place, they said. Police advised people to avoid the area.

Several roads in the area were closed to traffic while emergency teams and scientists were on site to assess the situation.

The Foreign Office tweeted that the risk to populated areas and critical infrastructure was considered very low. There has been no disruption to air traffic yet.

The area is relatively sparsely populated, but home to the country’s most important airport, which handles virtually all air traffic to and from the island.

The Blue Lagoon, a popular spa resort for tourists, is also located on the Reykjanes peninsula, about 29 km from the capital.

The peninsula experienced a similar eruption last year, when lava from the Krysuvik underground volcanic system continued to erupt for about five months.

As then, the resumption of the eruption was heralded in recent days by a series of earthquakes, some powerful, prompting scientists to warn that an eruption was likely.



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