Volcano erupts in southwest Iceland after 1000’s of earthquakes: NPR

A long dormant volcano on the Icelandic peninsula Reykjanes not far from the capital Reykjavik will erupt on Friday. Some gas was released and lava flowed down two sides, but officials said residents of the area would not be evacuated. Hildur Hlín Jónsdóttir / AP Hide the caption

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Hildur Hlín Jónsdóttir / AP

A long dormant volcano on the Icelandic peninsula Reykjanes not far from the capital Reykjavik will erupt on Friday. Some gas was released and lava flowed down two sides, but officials said residents of the area would not be evacuated.

Hildur Hlín Jónsdóttir / AP

A volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland erupted Friday night, creating a lava flow that could be seen from the capital, Reykjavik, 20 miles away.

The outbreak was reported by the Icelandic Meteorological Office. Photos from the event show an ominous sky glowing red with the silhouette of Mount Fagradalsfjall below.

The outbreak occurred about three miles inland from the coast and posed little threat to residents. They were advised to stay indoors with the windows closed to guard against released gases.

This is the first outbreak on the Reykjanes Peninsula in nearly 800 years, the Associated Press reported. Thousands of earthquakes occurred in the weeks before the outbreak, the weather department reported. At the beginning of this week, swarms of earthquakes shook the peninsula, with over 3,000 quakes on Sunday alone. The strongest tremors took place around Mount Fagradalsfjall.

Scientists attributed the earthquakes to magma collapses, molten rock movements about a kilometer below the earth’s crust. Meteorological officials first mentioned the possibility of an eruption on March 3, as these interventions continued and earthquake activity increased.

The likelihood of an eruption has increased in recent days as the magma flows concentrated around the southern part of the mountain. Fagradalsfjall, it said in an agency statement. Scientists declared the mountain the most likely point in the event of an eruption. Seismic activity on the peninsula decreased on Friday before the mountain finally erupted.

Air traffic is not expected to be devastating, as are the ashes of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010.

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