The Icelandic Meteorological Office says the Sylingarfell volcano is erupting. A volcanic eruption began on Thursday on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland, the third to hit the area since December, authorities said.
“Warning: A volcanic eruption has started north of Sylingarfell,” the Met Office said on its website.
The eruption began around 6 a.m. local time, sending lava into the air along a 3-kilometer-long (1.9 mile) fissure northeast of Mount Sundhnukur, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
Icelandic national broadcaster RUV said the nearby Blue Lagoon thermal spa, one of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions, was closed when the eruption began and guests were evacuated to hotels.
This is the sixth outbreak on the Reykjanes Peninsula since 2021 and the second this year.
The previous eruption began on January 14 and lasted about two days, with lava flows reaching the outskirts of the fishing town of Grindavik, whose nearly 4,000 residents had been evacuated, setting some houses on fire.
Sylingarfell Mountain is located a distance north of Grindavik, but it was not immediately clear whether Thursday’s outbreak would affect the village.
Iceland, which is about the size of the US state of Kentucky, has more than 30 active volcanoes, making the northern European island a prime destination for volcano tourism, a niche segment that attracts thousands of seekers. of strong emotions.
It straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack in the ocean floor that separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
As of March 2021, the Reykjanes Peninsula had not experienced an eruption for eight centuries.
New eruptions occurred in August 2022, July and December 2023, leading volcanologists to say it was likely the start of a new era of activity in the region.
Grindavik, a town of 3,800 people about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, was evacuated in November when the Svartsengi volcanic system awoke after nearly 800 years with a series of earthquakes that opened large cracks in the land between the city and Sýlingarfell, a small mountain to the north.
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