REYKJAVIK, Iceland – A volcanic eruption is underway in southwest Iceland that has people flocking to the rural region to catch a glimpse of 1,300 °F lava.
The Fagradalsfjall volcano had been quiet for over six thousand years, but since 2021 there have been two episodes of eruptions, including the most event that started Wednesday.
Meteorologists said the eruption has been accompanied by a release of potentially deadly gases and more than 400 earthquakes.
Fortunately for the country’s only 376,000 residents, the volcano is located far enough away where impacts on major population centers is not expected.
Police have closed walking trails around the mountain as Fagradalsfjall has become somewhat of a tourist attraction, with people hoping to get a picture of the lava.
Through the use of surveillance flights, experts have determined the lava flow is about five to ten times greater than the eruption in 2021.
The country’s aviation sector is closely watching the eruption and ash that could potentially interfere with flight paths.
Fagradalsfjall is only about a 20-mile drive from the country’s main airport of Keflavík.
Planes are highly susceptible to ash, and the U.S. Geological Survey reports there have been 79 cases of volcanic material damaging aircraft since 1953.
Ash particles can damage a plane’s fuselage, blades and greatly hinder an engine’s performance and electronics.
So far, officials said there haven’t been any delays or cancellations but are keeping a close on the volcano’s activity.
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The island nation is not a stranger to volcanic activity due to its location on the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
Iceland is home to around 130 volcanic mountains, many of which are considered inactive.