February 21, 2024

By Marco di Marco | Related Press

GRINDAVIK, Iceland — A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted Thursday for the third time since December, sending jets of lava into the sky, triggering the evacuation of the favored Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and slicing warmth and sizzling water to hundreds of individuals.

The eruption started at about 0600 GMT (1 a.m. EST) alongside a three-kilometer (practically two-mile) fissure northeast of Mount Sýlingarfell, the Icelandic Meteorological Workplace stated. A number of communities on the Reykjanes Peninsula have been lower off from warmth and sizzling water after a river of lava engulfed a provide pipeline.

The power of the eruption had decreased by mid-afternoon, the Met Workplace stated, although lava continued to spew from components of the fissure and an enormous plume of steam rose over a piece of the crack the place magma blended with groundwater.

The eruption website is about 4 kilometers (2½ miles) northeast of Grindavik, a coastal city of three,800 those that was evacuated earlier than a earlier eruption on Dec. 18. The Meteorological Workplace stated there was no quick risk to the city on Thursday.

Civil protection officers stated nobody was believed to be in Grindavik on the time of the brand new eruption. “They weren’t meant to be, and we don’t find out about any,” Víðir Reynisson, the top of Iceland’s Civil Protection, instructed nationwide broadcaster RUV.

The Civil Protection company stated lava reached a pipeline that provides a number of cities on the Reykjanes Peninsula with sizzling water — which is used to warmth properties — from the Svartsengi geothermal energy plant. Authorities urged residents to make use of sizzling water and electrical energy sparingly, as staff rushed to put an underground water pipe as a backup. Colleges, gyms and swimming swimming pools have been shut due to the dearth of warmth and water.

The Blue Lagoon thermal spa, created utilizing extra water from the facility plant, was closed when the eruption started and all of the friends have been safely evacuated, RUV stated. A stream of steaming lava later unfold throughout the exit street from the spa.

No flight disruptions have been reported at close by Keflavik, Iceland’s predominant airport, however sizzling water was lower off, airport operator Isavia stated.

The Icelandic Met Workplace earlier this week warned of a doable eruption after monitoring a buildup of magma, or semi-molten rock, beneath the bottom for the previous three weeks. A whole lot of small earthquakes had been measured within the space since Friday, capped by a burst of intense seismic exercise about half-hour earlier than the newest eruption started.

Dramatic video from Iceland’s coast guard confirmed fountains of lava hovering greater than 50 meters (165 ft) into the darkened skies. A plume of vapor rose about 3 kilometers (1½ miles) above the volcano.

Iceland, which sits above a volcanic sizzling spot within the North Atlantic, averages an eruption each 4 to 5 years. Probably the most disruptive in current occasions was the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which spewed enormous clouds of ash into the ambiance and led to widespread airspace closures over Europe.

File picture: A volcano in southwestern Iceland has erupted for the third time since Dec. and despatched jets of lava into the sky. Marco Di Marco/Related Press

Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist who has labored extensively in Iceland, stated it’s extremely unlikely the “light, effusive” eruption would disrupt aviation as a result of such volcanoes produce solely a tiny quantity of ash.

Grindavik, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, was evacuated in November when the Svartsengi volcanic system woke up after nearly 800 years with a sequence of earthquakes that opened massive cracks within the earth north of the city.

The volcano ultimately erupted on Dec. 18, sending lava flowing away from Grindavik. A second eruption that started on Jan. 14 despatched lava in the direction of the city. Defensive partitions that had been bolstered for the reason that first eruption stopped a number of the circulate, however a number of buildings have been consumed by the lava, and land within the city has sunk by as a lot as 1½meters (4½ ft) due to the magma motion.

No confirmed deaths have been reported, however a workman is lacking after falling right into a fissure opened by the volcano.

Each the earlier eruptions lasted solely a matter of days, however they sign what Icelandic President Gudni Th. Johannesson known as “a frightening interval of upheaval” on the Reykjanes Peninsula, some of the densely populated components of Iceland.

It’s unclear whether or not the residents of Grindavik will ever be capable to return completely, McGarvie stated.

“I feel in the intervening time there’s the resignation, the stoical resignation, that, for the foreseeable future, the city is mainly uninhabitable,” he stated.

He stated that after centuries of quiet, “individuals thought this space was pretty secure.”

“It’s been a little bit of a shock that it has come again to life,” he added, “Proof that we gathered solely fairly just lately is that eruptions might go on for many years, if not centuries, sporadically on this explicit peninsula.”

Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this story.