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Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

5th volcanic eruption raises 50-meter-high ‘curtain of fire’ in Iceland

By Vaseline May30,2024

A volcano in southwestern Iceland has erupted for the fifth time since December. Located near Sundhnúkagígar, north of Grindavík, the volcano spewed more than 50 meters into the air on Wednesday. According to reports, the fissure that spewed lava was about three kilometers long.

The volcano was activated after a series of seismic activity was measured near the north of the coastal town of Grindavik. The country’s meteorological department claimed that “intense earthquake activity” had caused the volcano.

As a precaution, officials evacuated the Blue Lagoon spa, one of the country’s most popular tourist resorts known for its large outdoor pools.

Nearly 400 earthquakes measured

The Icelandic Meteorological Office on Monday measured almost 400 earthquakes in the past seven days near the Sundhnúkagígar crater.

The volcanic system became active in March 2021 after being inactive for 800 years.

Due to intense volcanic activity, authorities evacuated most of Grindavik’s 4,000 residents in November 2023. The city is located approximately 48 kilometers south of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik.

The Guardian reported an accumulation of 20 million cubic meters of molten rock in the magma chamber beneath Svartsengi. In particular, a power plant in Svartsengi provides electricity and water to about 30,000 people on the peninsula.

The Svartsengi factory was evacuated after the first eruption in December and protective barriers were built around it.

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the eruption began at 12:46 a.m. local time on Wednesday and produced an intense lava flow that initially encircled the Hagafell volcano in the east before veering south towards the Melhólsnáma mine.

Intensive lava flow

During an earlier eruption in January, lava flowed into the streets of Grindavík and flooded three houses. However, some residents have since returned to neighborhoods considered less vulnerable to the lava flow, The Guardian reported.

Video of the eruption shows red-hot lava shooting into the air along a 2.1-mile-long gorge near Mount Hagafell.

The beginning of this eruption is more powerful

“Scientists’ initial assessment is that the onset of this eruption is more powerful than previous eruptions in the area,” the meteorological department said in a statement.

As a protective measure, officials cut off electricity to Grindavík as lava flows embedded power lines and hot and cold pipes in the ground.

Citizens have said most power lines have been destroyed, with masts badly damaged and some even on fire.

Iceland, which has 33 active volcano systems, lies above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the boundary between two of the planet’s largest tectonic plates.

According to the BBC, the last time the Reykjanes Peninsula experienced a period of volcanic activity was 800 years ago – and the eruptions continued for decades. This is now the eighth eruption since 2021, and scientists believe the area is entering a new volcanic era that could last decades or even centuries.

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ABOUT THE EDITORIAL

Prabhat Ranjan Mishra Prabhat, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, is a technology and defense journalist. While he enjoys writing about modern weapons and emerging technology, he has also covered global politics and business. He was previously associated with well-known media houses including International Business Times (Singapore Edition) and ANI.

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