Icelandic volcano near major airport erupts for the second time in a year

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BUT the volcano erupted on Wednesday morning in Iceland near the capital Reykjavik, eight months after the end of the last eruption.

Icelandic Meteorological Office (Met Office) informed on Twitter that the eruption occurred at the Geldingalir volcano in Fagradalsfjall. The volcano is located just 25 kilometers or 16 miles southwest of the country’s capital region.

The eruption in an uninhabited valley occurred near Keflavik Airport, Iceland’s international air hub. The airport was alerted as part of normal procedure during volcanic activity, but the airport remained open and flights were not interrupted. In addition, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management noted that volcanic activity does not pose a threat to infrastructure or human life.

Icelandic Monitor posted a live stream eruptions on YouTube showing magma erupting from a narrow fissure 100 to 200 meters (109 to 218 yd) long above a lava field following the eruption last September. Last year’s eruption was the first on the Reykjanes peninsula in over 800 years.

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Scientists expected an eruption somewhere on the peninsula because more than 10,000 earthquakes have been recorded on the Reykjanes peninsula since Saturday, according to Iceland Monitor.

“So far, we know that the eruption does not pose a risk to communities or critical infrastructure. We will of course continue to monitor the situation closely and we are now also benefiting from the experience gained during last year’s eruptionIcelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdóttir said in a statement.

An aerial view of the activity of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland on Wednesday August.  December 3, 2022, which is located 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the capital Reykjavik and close to Keflavik International Airport.

An aerial view of the activity of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland on Wednesday August. December 3, 2022, which is located 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the capital Reykjavik and close to Keflavik International Airport.
(AP Photo/Ernir Sner)

Most of the quakes were smaller, with magnitudes less than 4. But larger quakes of magnitude 4.7 have been recorded since Monday. Residents of Reykjavik A 5.47 magnitude earthquake struck on Sunday, according to the Met Office.

“There are indications that deformation and seismicity are declining and this preceded the eruption that began on March 19, 2021,” the Met Office said in a statement on Tuesday. “Given all of the above, the likelihood of an eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in the coming days is considered significant.”

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The 2021 eruption in the same area produced spectacular lava flows over several months that attracted hundreds of thousands of people.

Iceland, located above a volcano hotspot in the North Atlantic, erupts on average every four to five years.

The most devastating year in recent years was 2010. Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption, which sent clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere, interrupting flights between Europe and North America for several days due to concerns that the ash could damage jet engines. More than 100,000 flights were stopped, leaving millions of passengers stranded.

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Shares of Iceland’s flagship airline, Icelandair, rose 6% as the eruption became public on Wednesday. Investors and residents were spooked by the possibility of a much more destructive eruption in the densely populated area of ​​the peninsula.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.