A volcano in southwestern Iceland began erupting on Wednesday, the country’s weather authorities said, just eight months after its last eruption officially ended.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office has urged people not to get close to the Fagradalsfjall volcano, which is located about 32 kilometers southwest of the capital, Reykjavik.
The eruption in an uninhabited valley is not far from Keflavik Airport, Iceland’s international air traffic hub. The airport remained open and no flights were interrupted.
A live video feed from the site showed magma escaping from a narrow fissure about 100-200 meters long on a lava field from last year’s eruption, the first on the Reykjanes Peninsula in nearly 800 years.
Scientists had predicted an eruption somewhere on the peninsula after a series of earthquakes in the past week indicated volcanic activity near the crust.
Volcanologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said the eruption appeared to be small.
“But we don’t know where things are in the process,” he said as he boarded a helicopter to get a first look.
The 2021 eruption in the same area produced spectacular lava flows for several months. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to see the spectacular show.
Iceland, located above a volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic, has an average eruption every four to five years.
The most disruptive of recent times was the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which sent clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere, disrupting air travel for days between Europe and North America due to concern that the ash could damage jet engines. More than 100,000 flights have been blocked, blocking millions of passengers.
Shares in Iceland’s national airline, Icelandair, were up 6% when news of the eruption broke on Wednesday. Investors and residents alike had been frightened by the possibility of a much more disruptive eruption in a populated area of the peninsula.