Iceland Volcano Erupts After Weeks of Warnings, and Town Members Evacuated

A volcano eruption begins in Iceland, on Monday night, 18 December 2023, with lava spewing into the air, and lighting up the sky miles away in the center of the capital, Reykjavik. Not far from Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon Spa.

The said volcano occurred at about 2.5 miles northeast of Grindavik, a town that was evacuated last month, and is not far from the Syartsengi Power Plant.

“Eruption does not present a threat to life,” the Icelandic Government said on Tuesday, 19 December 2023, in a statement on its website. Officials also said that flights had not been impacted and that the risk to local infrastructure was being “monitored.”

In the initial assessment, volcanologists said that the eruption had occurred in one of the worst possible locations, posing a significant and immediate threat to both the evacuated town and the geothermal power plant.

But after volcanologists had a chance to fly over the site of the eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula, the immediate situation did not appear as dire as initially feared, though the size of the eruption was larger than anticipated and the direction of the lava’s flow still unpredictable.

Magnus Gudmundsson, a volcanologist and among the first people to view the eruption from the air said; “This is larger than previous eruptions on Reykjanes.”

More so, Armann Hoskuldsson, a volcanologist studying the eruption, disclosed that no lava was flowing toward a power plant in the area and that no other structures were in danger. The eruption could last up to 10 days.

The head of the volcanic activity department at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said: “lava is currently flowing just 2.5 kilometers North of Grindavík, or 1.6 miles, according to Kristín Jonsdottir.”

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Still, the authorities were cautioning people not to get too close. Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, a spokeswoman for the Department of Civil Protection, urged people to stay away from the area, emphasizing this was “no tourist volcano.”

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According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office; thousands of earthquakes had been detected in Iceland since late October. In November, with homes and roads being damaged, the authorities declared a state of emergency and evacuated Grindavik, a town of more than 3,000 people near the volcano.

The authorities have raised aviation alert, because a volcanic eruption could pose a risk to aircraft flying in the North Atlantic if ash spewed into the sky.

But as of Monday night, Iceland’s main airport, Keflavik, remained open, with this eruption not producing flight-stopping ash.

 

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