Story at a glance
- The Fagradals Mountain volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula erupted Friday after being dormant for some 6,000 years.
- The Reykjanes Peninsula is a volcanic and seismic hot spot where more than 40,000 small earthquakes have occurred over the past four weeks.
- The Icelandic Meteorological Office classified the eruption as small and said the eruption posed no immediate danger to people in the area.
A volcano located 20 miles southwest of Iceland’s capital city that had been dormant for some 6,000 years finally erupted on Friday following weeks of earthquakes in the region.
Aerial footage from the Icelandic Meteorological Office showed the Fagradals Mountain volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula spewing fountains of fiery lava Friday evening that lit up the night sky. The glow of the bright lava could be seen from the outskirts of Iceland’s capital Reykjavík, according to The Associated Press.
The Reykjanes Peninsula is a volcanic and seismic hot spot where more than 40,000 small earthquakes have occurred over the past four weeks, a significant increase from the up to 3,000 earthquakes recorded each year since 2014.
The eruption is the first the peninsula has seen in nearly 800 years. A fissure of up to 820 yards long opened at the eruption site and spewed fountains of lava up to 110 yards high, according to Reuters.
Authorities advised residents nearby to stay indoors and keep their windows closed to avoid breathing in gas pollution expelled by the volcano.
— Icelandic Meteorological Office – IMO (@Vedurstofan) March 19, 2021
This is Fagradalsfjall. It’s about 15 miles south of Reykjavik and just erupted. You can start practicing your pronunciation:
— RAGNAR ÆGIR / Music By Ragnar (@rfjolnisson) March 19, 2021
This video, taken on a drone by Bjorn Steinbekk of the #Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption in #Iceland, is absolutely insane. @MacLeanComms @thejohnrourkehttps://t.co/37gSITSrvs pic.twitter.com/XA8zA4Wzx5
— Peter Leung (@BaronVonClutch) March 22, 2021
The Icelandic Meteorological Office classified the eruption as small and said the eruption posed no immediate danger to people in the area. No evacuations were necessary and no structures were in danger of being damaged.
“Gas pollution can be expected due to the eruption in Reykjanes, most close to the source. Gas distribution is to the northeast from the eruption sites towards the capital area, but it is unlikely that gas concentrations will be dangerous there,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office said Monday.
Air traffic was able to continue as normal and flights remained on schedule as the eruption didn’t spew much ash or smoke into the atmosphere. In 2010, Iceland experienced a more disruptive eruption that spewed molten ash into the sky that impacted travel for weeks and forced hundreds of Icelanders from their homes.
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