Icelandic volcano erupts, spewing lava 150 feet into the air

Related media – Linked media

Helga Arnadottir, a spokeswoman, said this is the fifth evacuation order since the volcano came back to life last year. The evacuation went “as smoothly as previous ones,” Ms. Arnadottir added. It took hotel guests about a half hour to evacuate her, she said.

Another 300 people had to relocate from Grindavik, a fishing town that has been largely abandoned since January after lava and earthquakes from previous eruptions destroyed parts of it. The government has offered to buy all the residential houses in Grindavik to allow the residents to move elsewhere. Almost all property owners in the area have decided to sell.

Iceland’s tourist board urged people not to try to get close to the eruption and was quick to note that the country remains a safe destination. The island nation’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism; Airlines and travel agencies have reported declining sales since the eruptions began in December. Keflavik Airport reported no flight disruptions on Wednesday.

Although the eruption came with little warning, scientists had predicted another volcanic event would occur after the last eruption three weeks ago.

Magnus Gudmundsson, who was among the first volcanologists to fly over the site, told the New York Times that the fissure at Sundhnjukar appeared to have widened. By Wednesday evening, the lava had reached barriers surrounding Grindavik that had been put in place to redirect the flow away from the town.

Connected media – Linked media