UFar from the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, the Fagradalsfjall volcano has erupted. According to the island state’s meteorological service, only slight seismological fluctuations were measured on Saturday night. Nevertheless, the surface of the volcano tore over a length of 500 meters and small lava fountains splashed up into the air. According to the information, the glowing stream of liquid rock reached a size of about one square kilometer.
The civil protection and disaster control warned against approaching the volcano and obstructing the advancing emergency services. A Coast Guard helicopter was sent out to take aerial photos in order to better assess the extent and consequences of the volcanic eruption. The red glow over the silhouette of the volcano could be seen for miles in the night sky.
Almost 30 kilometers from Reykjavik
Fagradalsfjall is just under 30 kilometers away from Reykjavik on the southwestern tip of Iceland in an uninhabited area – it is ten kilometers to the next town of Grindavík. Its eruption brings back memories of the momentous eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic glacier ten years ago. The resulting kilometer-high ash cloud had paralyzed international air traffic for a long time in the spring of 2010 and suddenly increased awareness of the small island nation with around 360,000 inhabitants.
This time after the eruption of Fagradalsfjall there did not seem to be any significant obstructions in air traffic. The state airport operator Isavia waived a general flight ban and only ordered a drone exclusion zone within five kilometers of the volcano. The most important island airport, Keflavik, through which practically all international air traffic runs, pointed to increased ash levels in the air. Any flight cancellations are a matter for the airlines.
The civil protection and disaster control advised not to leave houses in the catchment area of the volcanic gas plumes and to keep windows closed. The sulfur dioxide content in the air has yet to be determined. The colorless but pungent smelling gas is poisonous and can cause shortness of breath and inflammation of the airways.
Recently there had been an unusual series of earthquakes in southwest Iceland, which is why the eruption of Fagradalsfjall was not entirely surprising. Several hundred smaller quakes were recorded there on Thursday alone, but initially had no consequences. In total, Iceland has around 30 large volcanoes.
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