Icelandic volcano dormant for 6,000 years erupts near Reykjavik

Icelandic volcano that had been dormant for more than 6,000 years erupts near Reykjavik

  • Current eruption on the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Geldingadalur began March 19 
  • It spewed more than 10 million square feet of lava at heights of 300 feet
  • Icelandic Meteorological Office said lava continues to flow and poses ‘hazard’ 

An Icelandic volcano that had been dormant for more than 6,000 years has erupted near Reykjavik.

The current eruption near Mount Fagradalsfjall in Geldingadalur began on March 19 following thousands of small earthquakes in the area in recent weeks.

The eruptive fissure – a linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts – was initially approximately 500-700 meters long, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.  

It was the first volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula in 781 years – but was the first time this particular volcano had gone off in about 6,000 years.

The eruption spewed more than 10 million square feet of lava and reached heights of more than 300 feet. 

The current eruption near Mount Fagradalsfjall in Geldingadalur began on March 19 following thousands of small earthquakes in the area in recent weeks

The eruption spewed more than 10 million square feet of lava and reached heights of more than 300 feet

But the Icelandic Meteorological Office announced on Saturday that volcanic activity has since ‘somewhat decreased’ in the Reykjanes peninsula – southwest of the capital Reykjavík. 

Despite the reduction in activity lava continues to flow and poses a ‘local hazard,’ the agency said.

In a further tweet it added: ‘Gas pollution is not expected to cause much discomfort for people except close up to the source of the eruption.’ 

It was the first volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula in 781 years – but was the first time this particular volcano had gone off in about 6,000 years

The eruptive fissure – a linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts – was initially approximately 500-700 meters long, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office

The area are remote enough that evacuations were not necessary and no structures were endangered but there has still been concern about the volcano’s proximity to Keflavik International Airport. 

However, the aviation warning was lowered from red to orange on Saturday due to predictions of minimal ash fall by the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Residents within several miles of the erupting volcano are still being advised to keep their windows closed and stay indoors wherever possible.    

The Icelandic Meteorological Office announced on Saturday that volcanic activity has since ‘somewhat decreased’ in the Reykjanes peninsula

The area are remote enough that evacuations were not necessary and no structures were endangered by the lava

Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, previously took to Twitter with a post that read: ‘A volcanic eruption has begun in Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula. 

‘We are monitoring the situation closely and as of now it is not considered a threat to surrounding towns. We ask people to keep away from the immediate area and stay safe.’ 

It comes after weeks of increased seismic activity on the peninsula, with some 400 earthquakes detected in the region on Thursday morning alone, according to the IMO. 

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