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Volcano erupts in Iceland for 4th time since December

Volcano erupts in Iceland for 4th time since December

A volcano on Iceland's southwestern coast erupted on Saturday for the fourth time since December, prompting an evacuation, officials said.

The eruption began between Mt. Hagafell and Mt. Stóra Skógfell at 20:23 UTC, with a "2.9-km-long fissure forming quickly," the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

PHOTO: TOPSHOT-ICELAND-VOLCANO (Halldor Kolbeins/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: TOPSHOT-ICELAND-VOLCANO (Halldor Kolbeins/AFP via Getty Images)

"The lead-up to the eruption was short," Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said in a statement, noting that a state of emergency has been declared due to the eruption.

The first warning to Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management was at 19:43 UTC, with the onset of the eruption confirmed via web cameras 40 minutes later, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

"The eruption is effusive in nature, so the eruption plume consists mainly of steam and gas," the office said.

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Based on initial assessments from aerial photographs and web camera imagery, the eruption is believed to be the largest in terms of magma discharge compared to the previous three eruptions from the Sundhnúkur crater row, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

Lava was flowing westwards in the direction of protection barriers for the Svartsengi region and southeast toward the protection barriers for Grindavík, the office said.

PHOTO: A volcanic eruption is seen on Iceland's southwestern coast, March 16, 2024. (Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management)
PHOTO: A volcanic eruption is seen on Iceland's southwestern coast, March 16, 2024. (Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management)

Grindavik, a fishing town home to 4,000 residents, was being evacuated, according to Gisli Olafsson, an MP.

The nearby geothermal spa Blue Lagoon was also evacuated, Olafsson said on social media. The spa said it will be closed through at least Sunday due to the eruption.

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The location of the latest fissure is similar to the previous eruption that occurred on Feb. 8, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

Another eruption nearby on Jan. 14 sent lava flowing into Grindavik, destroying several homes.

An eruption on Dec. 18 was accompanied by hundreds of earthquakes across the magma flow.

Volcano erupts in Iceland for 4th time since December originally appeared on abcnews.go.com