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Iceland. Volcano eruption. The authorities urged residents to close their windows

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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.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) reported 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. He added that there was no imminent threat to people in the region.

Traffic at Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport has not been disrupted, the airport said on its website.

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.

Authorities fear that the escaping gas will be the biggest threat to residents in 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.

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

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.

Main photo source: Reuters

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