Volcano erupts in south-west Iceland

A volcano has erupted on the Reykjanes peninsula of south-west Iceland after weeks of intense earthquake activity.

About 4,000 people were earlier evacuated from the fishing town of Grindavik and the nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa was closed.

The eruption started north of the town at 22:17 local time (22:17 GMT), the Icelandic Met Office says.

The region around the capital Reykjavik has been experiencing an increase in earthquake activity since late October.

Images and videos posted on social media showed lava bursting from the volcano just an hour after an an earthquake swarm, or seismic events, were detected.

A coastguard helicopter is being sent to the area to confirm the exact location and size of the eruption, the Met Office said.

It added that it seemed “to be located close to Hagafell”, a town south of the capital.

A senior police officer at the Civil Defence told national broadcaster RUV the eruption had happened quickly and appeared to be “quite a large event”.


Vidir Reynisson said the lava appeared to be flowing in all directions from a large crack in the volcano.

“The jets [of lava] are quite high, so it appears to be a powerful eruption at the beginning,” he said.

In April 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption caused the largest closure of European airspace since World War Two, as a result of an extensive ash cloud.

Losses were estimated at between 1.5bn and 2.5bn euros (£1.3-2.2bn).

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