Iceland volcano erupts following weeks of earthquakes

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A volcano in southwest Iceland erupted late on Monday after the region experienced a series of earthquakes for weeks. 

Residents in the fishing town of Grindavik were evacuated from their homes last month after thousands of tremors shook the community, prompting fears that a volcano eruption in the nearby Reykjanes Peninsula was imminent. The Icelandic Meteorological Office announced Monday that the eruption began about an hour before midnight local time. 

The office noted that the eruption occurred just 2.4 miles from the town of Grindavik after a “swarm” of earthquakes rattled the region. The office reported that the fissure eruption was continuing to expand south, adding that lava was “spreading laterally from either side of the newly opened fissures.”

Video footage captured by local news outlets showed heavy plumes of smoke over the lava spewing from the fissures. In an update posted early on Tuesday local time, the meteorological office said the seismic activity in the area was already decreasing.

“The fact that the activity is decreasing already is not an indication of how long the eruption will last, but rather that the eruption is reaching a state of equilibrium,” the office said in its latest update. “This development has been observed at the beginning of all eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula in recent years.”

It also confirmed that the eruptive fissure, which is the crack in the ground from where the lava spews, is four kilometers, or about 2.4 miles, long. 

Bjarne Benediktsson, Iceland’s foreign minister, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that there are “no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open” amid the eruption.

The office began to warn residents of Grindavik last month that a potential volcanic eruption was looming. The town is home to about 3,400 people and sits about 31 miles southwest of the capital, Reykjavik.

Iceland is not new to volcanic eruptions since it sits on top of a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic, according to The Associated Press. The wire service noted that Iceland experiences an eruption every four to five years.

The Associated Press contributed.

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