An Icelandic volcano erupts again, and a nearby town is evacuated

Lava exploded Saturday from a new volcanic fissure on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula, the fourth eruption. To hit the area Since December, authorities said.

“A volcanic eruption began between Stora Skogfell and Hagafell on the Reykjanes Peninsula,” a statement from the Icelandic Meteorological Office said. Live video images showed glowing lava and billowing smoke.

Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management announced that it had sent a helicopter to narrow down the exact location of the new fissure.

Reykjavik skyline against a backdrop of orange-hued skies due to molten lava flowing from a fissure on the Reykjanes Peninsula north of the evacuated town of Grindavik, in western Iceland, on March 16, 2024. Lava erupted on Saturday again, authorities said. In Iceland, it is the fourth eruption to hit the region since December.

Halldor Kolbenz/AFP via Getty Images

Minutes before the volcano erupted, the International Maritime Organization issued a statement saying that seismic activity indicates that there is an increased chance of an eruption.

Local media reported that the evacuation of the fishing town of Grindavik had begun, with residents receiving text messages asking them to leave quickly.

Grindavík's approximately 4,000 residents were only allowed to return to their homes on February 19 after being evacuated on November 11, 2023.

On that occasion, hundreds of earthquakes destroyed buildings and opened huge cracks in the roads.

The earthquakes were followed by a volcanic fissure On December 18th That saved the village.

But the fissure opened right on the edge of the city In JanuaryThis was followed by lava flowing into the streets, turning three houses into ash A third eruption Near the village on February 8.

Iceland is home to 33 active volcanic systems, the highest number in Europe.

It runs along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack in the ocean floor that separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

But until March 2021, the Reykjanes Peninsula had not seen an eruption for eight centuries.

More eruptions occurred in August 2022 and in July and December 2023, prompting volcanologists to say it may have been the beginning of a new era of seismic activity in the region.

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