Iceland’s Blue Lagoon evacuated as volcano erupts

Home US & World Iceland’s Blue Lagoon evacuated as volcano erupts
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon evacuated as volcano erupts

Another volcanic eruption has begun in south-west Iceland, forcing the evacuation of the famous geothermal Blue Lagoon spa and the small fishing town of Grindavik.

The new fissure opened up near Sundhnuksgigar on the Reykjanes peninsula, the fifth eruption in the area since December.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said the fissure is longer than 2.5km (1.5 miles) and is continuing to grow.

Footage from the site shows a wall of molten rock shooting up to a height of 50m, and huge plumes of smoke covering most of the sky.

Officials also reported “intense earthquake activity” prior to Wednesday’s eruption.

Most of the 4,000 residents of the nearby town of Grindavik were permanently evacuated in November, prior to the eruptions in December, January, February and March.

Lava flowed into the streets of Grindavik during the January eruption, engulfing three homes.

A few residents had since returned to live in neighbourhoods less at risk from lava flow, but officials said they were evacuated on Wednesday when the magma intrusion began to flow closer to Grindavik.

The National Police Commissioner said it had put the Civil Defense on an emergency footing.

Iceland has 33 active volcano systems and sits over what is known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the boundary between two of the largest tectonic plates on the planet.

The last time the Reykjanes Peninsula had a period of volcanic activity was 800 years ago – and the eruptions continued for decades.

This is now the seventh eruption since 2021, and scientists believe the area is entering a new volcanic era that could last for decades or even centuries.

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