GRINDAVIK, Iceland (AP)
A volcano in southwestern Iceland has erupted again, marking its third eruption since December. This latest eruption, which occurred on Thursday, sent jets of lava into the sky and resulted in the evacuation of the famous Blue Lagoon spa, a major tourist attraction in the island nation.
According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the eruption began at approximately 0600 GMT (1 a.m. EST) along a three-kilometer (nearly two-mile) fissure northeast of Mount Sundhnukur. This site is situated about 4 kilometers (2½ miles) northeast of Grindavik, a coastal town inhabited by 3,800 people. The same town was evacuated before a previous eruption on December 18.
The Meteorological Office has reassured that there is currently no immediate danger to Grindavik or the major power plant in the vicinity. Civil defense officials have confirmed that no individuals were believed to be present in the town during the eruption.
"They weren't meant to be, and we don't know about any," stated Víðir Reynisson, the head of Iceland's Civil Defense, during an interview with Icelandic national broadcaster RUV.
Evacuation of the Blue Lagoon
As a precautionary measure, the nearby Blue Lagoon thermal spa was closed as soon as the eruption commenced. All the guests were swiftly and safely evacuated from the premises. Later on, a stream of steaming lava spread across a road adjacent to the spa.
Possible Eruption in Iceland
The Icelandic Met Office has recently issued a warning regarding a potential volcanic eruption. Over the past three weeks, they have been monitoring a buildup of magma, or semi-molten rock, beneath the ground. This monitoring was prompted by hundreds of small earthquakes recorded in the area since Friday, culminating in a burst of intense seismic activity just 30 minutes before the latest eruption commenced.
An extraordinary video captured by Iceland's coast guard depicts impressive fountains of lava shooting more than 50 meters (165 feet) into the darkened skies. Additionally, a plume of vapor rose approximately 3 kilometers (1½ miles) above the volcano.
Iceland, located above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic, experiences eruptions on average every four to five years. One of the most disruptive events in recent history was the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010. The massive ash clouds it released into the atmosphere resulted in significant airspace closures throughout Europe.
Notably, this is the third eruption to occur since December within a volcanic system situated on the Reykjanes Peninsula. This peninsula includes Keflavik, Iceland's primary airport, and several sizable towns. Fortunately, there were no reports of disruptions to airport operations on Thursday.
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