Volcano dormant for 6000 years erupts in southwestern Iceland, the area’s first eruption in centuries

Volcano dormant for 6000 years erupts in southwestern Iceland, the area’s first eruption in centuries

March 20, 2021

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A long dormant volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland flared to life Friday night, spilling lava down two sides in that area’s first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.

Initial aerial footage, posted on the Facebook page of the Icelandic Meteorological Office, showed a relatively small eruption so far, with two streams of lava running in opposite directions. The glow from the lava could be seen from the outskirts of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, which is about 20 miles away.

The Department of Emergency Management said it was not anticipating evacuations because the volcano is in a remote valley, about 1.5 miles from the nearest road.

In this still image captured from a hand out video, filmed by the Icelandic Coast Guard, lava flows from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano some 50 km west of the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, on March 19, 2021. – A volcano erupted in Iceland on Friday some 25 miles from the capital Reykjavik, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said, as a red cloud lit up the night sky and a no-fly zone was established in the area. (Photo by Icelandic Coast Guard / AFP) (Photo: ICELANDIC COAST GUARD, AFP via Getty Images)

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The Fagradals Mountain volcano had been dormant for 6,000 years, and the Reykjanes Peninsula hadn’t seen an eruption of any volcano in 781 years.

There had been signs of a possible eruption recently, with earthquakes occurring daily for the past three weeks. But volcanologists were still taken by surprise because the seismic activity had calmed down before the eruption.

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