Iceland declares state of emergency as violent volcanic flare-up occurs

Iceland declares state of emergency as violent volcanic flare-up occurs

Iceland declares state of emergency as violent volcanic flare-up occurs

Iceland declares state of emergency as violent volcanic flare-up occurs

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  • Fourth eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula, marking fourth since December.
  • Lava breached the eastern defenses surrounding the evacuated town of Grindavik.
  • The initial eruption, characterized by powerful and rapid lava flows, commenced late on Saturday.
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Another volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula has prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency in southern Iceland – marking the fourth eruption since December. According to local media reports, lava has breached the eastern defenses surrounding the evacuated town of Grindavik.

The eruption, characterized by powerful and rapid lava flows, commenced late on Saturday, but authorities have noted a significant reduction in activity since then.

The fissure, initially measuring 3km long (1.9 miles), has seen a dissipation in activity. Iceland’s Meteorological Office reported that streams of lava continued to flow on Sunday, although the rate of movement had started to decrease.

Vídir Reynisson, the director of Iceland’s civil defense, stated that they had completed all possible preparations for the lava flow, with the main concern being the impact on infrastructure. He also expressed concern about pools of lava accumulating near defenses.

According to the country’s civil defense service, the eruption commenced north of Grindavik after 20:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Saturday. The eruption occurred in a location similar to the one where the eruption began on 8 December.

Footage captured the explosion, revealing clouds of smoke and glowing magma oozing and bubbling from vents in the earth. The explosion did not impact the main international airport, situated to the northwest of Grindavik.

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Geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, who flew over the affected areas in a helicopter, informed local media that Saturday’s eruption marked the most powerful one thus far. Two lava streams, moving west and south, have been observed. Local media stated that lava from the latter stream had breached Grindavik’s eastern defense walls.

Mr. Gudmundsson suggested that there’s a possibility of lava flowing into the sea, although this might not transpire if the volcanic activity subsides.

Einar Bessi Gestsson, a natural disaster expert at the Norwegian Meteorological Agency, informed Iceland’s public broadcaster RUV that dangerous gases and small explosions could emerge upon contact between lava and seawater.

Meanwhile, the lava, advancing westward, is progressing toward the Blue Lagoon and a geothermal power plant, which supplies hot water to most of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

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