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22 May, 2024
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Thousands flee as Iceland's volcano roars to life

Flash of light signals explosive volcanic eruption


Molten rock is putting on a fiery show in Iceland as a volcano erupts following weeks of seismic activity. The Icelandic Meteorological Office reports lava spewing from a 3.5km crack in the Reykjanes peninsula, triggering rapid growth.

As Sky News reports, evacuations, relocating nearly 4,000 people from Grindavik, precede the eruption. A grainy video captures the moment, a flash of light illuminating the sky at 10.17 pm local time on Monday.

Though prior eruptions occurred in uninhabited areas, authorities fear this one poses an immediate risk. The Icelandic Met Office issues an alert, noting magma movement towards Grindavik. Vidir Reynisson, head of civil protection, describes the magma flow as substantial, raising concerns.

Local police elevate the alert level, and civil defense warns against approaching the area. The precautionary closure of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa follows. Despite the spectacle, volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson believes the lava is unlikely to reach populated areas.

Experts, like volcanologist Dougal Jerram, stress the challenge of predicting the eruption's duration. Monitoring becomes crucial as the magma heads southwest. Dr. Sam Mitchell highlights difficulties due to near-constant darkness in southwest Iceland.

The nearby international airport in Reykjavik remains open, but British holidaymaker Helen Hope shares the intrigue among passengers. Professor Matthew Watson acknowledges the unlikely impact on air travel, emphasizing the eruption's spectacle and potential hazards.

Iceland had been on high alert since November, anticipating a volcanic eruption. The Reykjanes peninsula, known for seismic activity, experienced daily earthquakes, prompting evacuations in Grindavik. Authorities, anticipating magma near the town, plan protective measures.

Situated between tectonic plates, Iceland's seismic nature poses challenges. As the volcanic drama unfolds, the nation faces the uncertainty of the eruption's duration and potential impacts on travel and safety.

[With information sourced from Sky News]

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