A volcano near Iceland’s capital and Keflavik International Airport erupted on Friday after lying dormant for 6,000 years.
Mount Fagradalsfjall volcano, located on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland, sprang to life overnight, marking the region’s first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.
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The Emergency Management Department said it does not anticipate evacuations as the volcano is about a mile and a half from the nearest road.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and, at the moment, it is not considered to be a threat to the surrounding towns”, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir assured. “We are asking people to move away from the immediate area and to stay safe.”
No injuries were reported from the incident, although traffic jams frustrated drivers, according to the New York Times.
Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) tweeted that the eruption started around 8:45 p.m. GMT and is “considered small at this stage”.
The office first spotted the rash on a webcam, then confirmed it using thermal satellite images. They estimate that the “crack” was about 550 meters long.
Lava exploded several hundred meters in the air, according to Reuters.
The lava glow could be seen from Reykjavik about 20 miles away and residents were warned not to approach the lava fountains and invited to stay inside with windows closed due to predicted “volcanic gas pollution”.
“Currently, the gas pollution is not expected to cause much discomfort to people except near the source of the eruption,” IMO said. tweeted on Saturday. “The gas [emissions] will be closely watched. “
The event surprised volcanologists because, although tens of thousands of frequent daily earthquakes alerted to a potential eruption, the recently increased seismic activity had subsided, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
Additionally, although the Land of Fire and Ice has a long and rich volcanic history, it is rare to see earthquakes around the Reykjavik area.
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In 2010, the massive eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano spat so much ash that flights were stranded across Europe for weeks.
Although the magnitude of this rash does not approximate this rash, some national restrictions were set up.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.