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Iceland’s Southwest Volcano Erupts for Fifth Time In 6 Months

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(CTN News) – A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted on Wednesday, marking its fifth eruption since December and the most powerful one in three years, sending glowing hot lava shooting more than 50 meters into the air.

Authorities had previously cautioned about the possibility of renewed volcanic activity in the area just south of the capital Reykjavik, where studies indicated that magma had been accumulating underground.

The eruption began shortly after an eight-week long eruption in the same area between Hagafell and Stora-Skogfell on the Reykjanes peninsula.

The lava fountains from the latest eruption reached a height of 50 meters (164 feet) and spanned a fissure approximately 3.4 kilometers long, according to Iceland’s Met Office.

“The first assessment of scientists is that the beginning of this eruption is more powerful than in previous eruptions,” the Met Office said in a statement.

Volcanic Activity in Iceland Continues Unabated

Despite the dramatic display of volcanic activity, flights continued as usual at Reykjavik’s Keflavik Airport, as confirmed by the airport’s website.

The recent eruption underscores the ongoing challenges faced by Iceland, a country with a population of nearly 400,000 people, as scientists have warned of the potential for repeated eruptions in Reykjanes over decades or even centuries.

This latest event marks the eighth eruption since 2021 on the peninsula, home to approximately 30,000 residents, after geological systems that had been dormant for 800 years became active once again.

“It started as a very traditional fissure eruption with a lot of lava fountains and lava already being spilled out,” said Ari Trausti Gudmundsson, an Icelandic geophysicist. “The fountain activity is usually most powerful in the beginning.

It abates very slowly, and maybe in the next 24 hours, most of these lava fountains will slow,” he added, suggesting the eruption could persist for days or even weeks.

Impact and Response to the Eruption in Grindavik

Such volcanic activity has had significant local impacts, including disruptions to district heating, road closures, and the destruction of several homes in the Grindavik fishing town, where only a few residents have returned since an evacuation in late 2023.

To mitigate damage, man-made barriers have been constructed to redirect lava away from critical infrastructure such as the Svartsengi geothermal power plant, the Blue Lagoon spa, and Grindavik itself.

The fissure had extended to less than a kilometer from Grindavik’s defenses, according to the Met Office.

Iceland’s civil defense was placed on high alert, and authorities ordered the evacuation of Grindavik once again. Nearby tourist attractions, such as the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, known for its large outdoor pools, were closed, and guests were evacuated.

Residents often refer to Iceland as the “Land of Fire and Ice,” a testament to its unique and otherworldly landscape of mountain peaks, ice fields, and fjords. Positioned between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, Iceland is a seismic hotbed prone to volcanic activity.

The situation is being monitored closely by authorities and scientists, who continue to assess the evolving volcanic activity and its potential impact on the region.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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