June 13, 2024

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A volcano erupts in Iceland, spewing lava 150 feet into the air

A volcano erupts in Iceland, spewing lava 150 feet into the air

A volcano in southwest Iceland erupted on Wednesday for the fifth time since December, cracking the Sundhnjokar mountain range with astonishing force and shooting lava 150 feet into the air.

The Meteorological Office said it had received indications of a possible eruption about two hours before it occurred at 1 p.m. local time in Grindavik, prompting the Civil Defense Agency to immediately urge guests at the Blue Lagoon – a thermal spa that is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. Destinations – for evacuation.

“Evacuate, evacuate!” read a text message sent to nearly 800 guests staying at the Blue Lagoon and surrounding hotels. Civil defense sirens installed last February blared as visitors scrambled to leave.

Within minutes After the eruption, drivers traveling on the highway to Keflavik Airport posted photos of the nearly two-mile-long fissure in Sundhengokar. A large column of smoke was seen from the capital, Reykjavik.

Its spokeswoman Helga Arnadottir said this was the fifth evacuation order since the volcano first came back to life last year. Ms. Arnadottir added that the evacuation went “as smoothly as previous evacuations.” She added that the hotel guests took about half an hour to evacuate.

Another 300 people had to move from Grindavik, a fishing town that has been largely deserted since January after lava and earthquakes from previous eruptions destroyed parts of it. The government offered to buy all residential homes in Grindavik to allow residents to settle elsewhere. Almost all real estate owners in the area They chose to sell.

Iceland’s tourism board urged people not to try to get close to the eruption and was quick to point out that the country remains a safe destination. The island nation’s economy relies heavily on tourism. Airlines and travel agencies have reported a decline in sales since the volcano eruption began in December. Keflavik Airport reported no flight disruptions on Wednesday.

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Although the eruption occurred without warning, scientists expected another volcanic event to occur after the last eruption three weeks ago.

Magnus Gudmundsson, who was among the first volcanologists to fly over the site, told the New York Times that the fissure at Sundhnjokar appears to have widened. By Wednesday evening, lava had reached barriers around Grindavik that were put in place to redirect the flow away from the city.

“We saw the fissure widen and a dense stream of lava flowed southward” toward Grindavik, Mr. Gudmundsson said. Parts of the main road were destroyed. Mr Gudmundsson added that the volcano had already produced 2.1 square miles of lava, which was a “good amount”.