Breaking: Volcano erupts in south-west Iceland

Editorial Staff

This story is being updated.

A volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland has erupted after weeks of mounting seismic activity, leading to the evacuation of approximately 4,000 people from the fishing town of Grindavik.

The eruption commenced just north of the town at 22:17 local time (22:17 GMT), according to the Icelandic Met Office. The area, not far from the nation’s capital Reykjavik, has been under observation for increased earthquake activity since late October.

Social media posts depicted dramatic scenes of lava spewing from the volcano, occurring shortly after a series of seismic events. A coastguard helicopter has been dispatched to ascertain the eruption’s precise location and scope.

Officials indicated the eruption seemed to be near the town of Hagafell, south of Reykjavik. A senior Civil Defence police officer told RUV, the national broadcaster, that the eruption was rapid and seemed to be a significant event. Vidir Reynisson described the lava as flowing in various directions from a substantial fissure, with high jets of lava suggesting a forceful initial phase.

This geological incident brings back memories of the disruptive April 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption, which led to the most extensive closure of European airspace since World War Two and resulted in economic losses estimated between €1.5 billion and €2.5 billion (£1.3-£2.2 billion).

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