Iceland evacuates tourists from Reykjavik volcano after new eruption starts spewing lavaavril 6, 2021
A new fissure spewing red lava and steam at an Icelandic volcano has prompted the authorities to evacuate hundreds of tourists who had come to marvel at the spectacle not far from the island’s capital city.
The 500m (1,640ft) long fissure was spotted by a sightseeing helicopter on Monday.
It is located about a kilometre away from the mouth of the volcano on Mount Fagradalsfjall in the Geldingadalir valley where the dormant volcano flared up on 19 March after almost 800 years.
It described the order as a precautionary measure, saying there was no imminent danger to life due to the fissure’s distance from hiking paths.
“We had two new cracks opening up right around where people were walking, so […] we just cleared out the area to figure out what is happening,” search and rescue team member Sigurjon Veigar said.
The site of the eruption has become a new tourist magnet in southwestern Iceland, attracting hundreds of people to snap photos and witness the phenomenon up close.
While volcanic activity is common in the “land of fire and ice”, with at least one eruption occurring every five years on average, they tend to happen in more inaccessible parts of the country.
This time the eruption is located just 25 miles from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. The site can be reached easily after a six-kilometre hike from the fishing port of Grindavik.
About 30,000 people have visited the area since the volcanic eruption began, according to the Icelandic Tourist Board, despite coronavirus restrictions.
The new crack in the mountain poses no threat or potential effect on the traffic at nearby Keflavik Airport, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
Geophysicist Magnus Gudmundsson said the second stage of eruption has probably begun as the stream of volcanic eruption might be moving north from its original location.
“We now see less lava coming from the two original craters. This could be the beginning of second stage,” he told the Associated Press.