Aug. 4 (UPI) — A volcano near Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik has begun to erupt following intense seismic activity over the past few days, the nordic nation’s government said.
The eruption started at about 1:18 p.m. Wednesday with lava beginning to flow from a fissure created in Fagradalsfjall Mountain, located about 15.5 miles from the Reykjavik metropolitan area and nine miles from Keflavik International Airport.
Experts said the fissure eruption occurred close to the site of last year’s eruption, which only ended six months ago.
“We’ve been expecting an eruption somewhere in this area since the series of earthquakes started last weekend,” Iceland Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said in a statement. “What we know so far is that the eruption does not pose any risk to populated areas or critical infrastructure.”
The government said since is a fissure eruption it does not expect large explosions or a signification production of ash to be spewed into the stratosphere.
Similar to last year’s eruption, this one could produce considerable gas pollution, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said, though the government states there has yet to be any flight disruptions to or from the country and international flight corridors remain open.
Volcanologist Magnus Tumi Guomundsson, who participated in a surveillance flight over the eruption center, said he estimates the lava flow from the fissure to be about five to 10 times greater than the flow that accompanied the start of last year’s eruption.
In 2010, Eyjafjallajokull volcano in southern Iceland erupted, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate and aircraft to be grounded due to the ash and dust clouds that coated the skies, making it the most destructive explosion in the country in decades.