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Iceland. Volcanic eruption near Reykjavik

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A volcanic eruption occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland, near the country’s capital Reykjavik, the country’s meteorological office said on Monday evening. Authorities appealed to residents of nearby homes to preventively close their windows to protect themselves from the harmful gases. On Tuesday, experts assessed that the threat was diminishing.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said on Monday evening that there is a 200-meter-long fissure on the slopes of Mount Litli Hrutur “from which lava gushes out in a series of fountains.” “Right now, it’s a very small eruption,” said Matthew Roberts of IMO’s Services and Research Division. On Tuesday afternoon, it was reported that the eruption of a volcano near Reykjavik is slowing down and gas pollution is decreasing, but residents should still stay away from the volcano, which is spewing toxic substances.

“It was a small eruption, which is very good news,” Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, a professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland, told Icelandic broadcaster RUV on Tuesday.

The activation of this volcano two years ago caused the suspension of all arrivals and departures from Keflavik International Airport. Domestic flights from Keflavik were suspended on Tuesday due to the smoke emitted by the volcano.

Volcanic eruption in IcelandReuters

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Concerns about fumes

Images and live feeds from local news outlets MBL and RUV showed lava and smoke coming from a fissure in the ground on the slope of Mount Fagradalsfjall.

The authorities from the beginning feared that the escaping gas would be the biggest threat to the inhabitants of the area. Therefore, as a precaution, they were asked to close the windows and turn off the air conditioning. They were also asked to avoid being close to the volcano if the situation worsened. Those warnings were upheld on Tuesday, though experts say the threat has subsided.

– Direction [wiatru – przyp. red.] is changing fast. Pollutants move rapidly and we can’t pinpoint exactly where the most of them are at any given time, said Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, communications manager at Almannavarnir, a disaster and public defense organization. “It is obviously dangerous to be in eruption sites and pollution can affect such a large area,” she added.

Volcanic eruption in IcelandReuters

Volcanoes in Iceland

Scientists have warned of possible eruptions at the volcano after hundreds of smaller earthquakes have been detected in recent weeks.

The Reykjanes Peninsula is a volcanic and seismically hot spot located southwest of Iceland’s capital.

As of March 2011, volcanic activity in the area lasted for six months, prompting thousands of Icelanders and tourists to visit the site. In August 2022, the Fagradalsfjall volcano erupted for three weeks in the same area.

Unlike the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which halted 100,000 flights and forced hundreds of Icelanders to flee their homes, this eruption is not expected to throw much ash into the atmosphere.

Reuters, ruv.is, CNN, PAP

Main photo source: Reuters



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