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Volcanic eruption puts on fiery spectacle near Iceland’s Grindavik

In News, World
May 30, 2024

A volcano in southwestern Iceland has erupted for the fifth time this year. It is Sundhnukagigar’s most powerful eruption since the volcanic system became active three years ago.

The fiery spectacle began shortly after the end of an eight-week-long eruption that occurred between Hagafell and Stora-Skogfell on the same Reykjanes peninsula.

The lava fountains reached 50 metres (164 feet) high and the length of the fissure was about 3.4km (2.1 miles), the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a statement.

Flights continued as usual at the capital Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport, according to the airport’s website.

Wednesday’s was the eighth eruption since 2021 on the peninsula, home to about 30,000 people after geological systems that had lain dormant for 800 years became active again.

Such volcanic activity has disrupted district heating, closed key roads and razed several homes in the Grindavik fishing town, to which only a few residents have returned since an evacuation in late 2023.

Iceland’s civil defence was put on high alert, police said, and authorities again ordered an evacuation of Grindavik.

The nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, known for its large outdoor pools, was shut and its guests evacuated.

Residents refer to Iceland as the “Land of Fire and Ice” – a tribute to its otherworldly landscape of mountain peaks, ice fields and fjords, a seismic hotbed positioned between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

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