Iceland volcano erupts! See a livestream here

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Iceland volcano erupts, after weeks of earthquakes

For weeks, volcanologists had been predicting an eruption of a volcano in southwestern Iceland, on the Reykjanes Peninsula, in the most populated part of the country. There’d been earthquakes near the town of Grindavik, about 2.4 miles (4 km) away. And there’d already been evacuations. Then, yesterday, boom! The volcano suddenly blew, blasting lava fountains high into the sky. Ultimately, volcanologists said, the eruption was more powerful than they’d expected, lighting up the sky miles away in the center of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, only about 30 miles (50 km) away.

AP reported:

The town near Iceland’s main airport was evacuated in November after strong seismic activity damaged homes and raised fears of an imminent eruption.

Iceland, which sits above a volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic, averages an eruption every four to five years. The most disruptive in recent times was the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which spewed huge clouds of ash into the atmosphere and led to widespread airspace closures over Europe.

Will it close airports in Europe?

But this eruption is not expected to produce as much ash, AP said. In fact, according to AP:

Iceland’s Foreign Minister Bjarne Benediktsson said on X, formerly Twitter, that there were no disruptions of flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open.

Big fissure, getting bigger

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that the volcano’s fissure is:

… some 2.5 miles [4 km] long and growing quickly … [It’s] not far from the Svartsengi Power Plant and the town of Grindavík, which was evacuated last month because of heightened seismic activity, leading to concerns than an eruption was likely.

The Times said that the direction of the lava flow is still “unpredictable.”

More reports from volcano-watchers

Bottom line: After weeks of earthquakes, an Iceland volcano – on the Reykjanes Peninsula – began erupting powerfully on December 18, 2023. It was a bigger eruption than volcanologists had predicted!

Via AP

Via the New York Times

December 19, 2023

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