A volcano in southwestern Iceland began erupting Monday night, spewing lava and smoke into the air after weeks of intense earthquake activity. Although an eruption was expected, it is larger than predicted.
A volcano finally erupted on the Reykjanes Peninsula north of Grindavik, an area evacuated since November. In addition, meteorologists expect high and dangerous waves for the next few days.
Reykjavik’s international airport, located nearby, remains open for now despite the eruption, although there are delays. According to Visit Iceland, the country’s destination management organization, the impact of volcanic eruptions tends to remain within specific, localized areas near the eruption site. Previous eruptions in the area did not impact air travel to and from the country.
The eruption comes after more than a month of intense earthquake activity and government warnings of a potential volcanic eruption in the region. The ongoing eruption does not pose an immediate threat to people as inhabitants left in November.
Iceland is very familiar with volcanic activity with around 130 volcanoes, 32 of which are considered active. Iceland straddles two tectonic plates, divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten hot rock, or magma.
Visit Iceland has established an information page with essential updates on the current situation.
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