Stay away! Iceland volcano erupts 20 miles from airport as onlookers urged to avoid area

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The Fagradalsfjall volcano, which is around 20 miles (about 32km) away from Keflavik airport, has erupted again less than a year after its first eruption in 6,000 years finished. The eruption occurred on 1.30pm local time on Wednesday, sending lava pouring out of a narrow fissure over an area of solidified lava produced from last year’s eruption. But so far, no flights have been disrupted, with the international airport remaining open.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “Currently, there have been no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open.”

But Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir has said that the situation will “continue to be monitored closely”.

He also stressed that the eruption is not currently posing a threat to human life or infrastructure

Mr Jakobsdottir said in a statement: “What we know so far is that the eruption does not pose any risk to populated areas or critical infrastructure”.

Iceland’s Foreign Ministry said: “The eruption follows intense seismic activity over the past few days.

“It is considered to be relatively small and due to its location, there is low threat to populated areas or critical infrastructure”

Back in 2010, Eyjafjallajokull volcano covered the sky in a huge ash could, sparking chaos as international travellers were left stranded as 100,00 flights were grounded.

A 7-day shutdown of much of Europe’s air traffic was ordered by civil aviation authorities, affecting around 10 million passengers and costing between €1.5billion £(1.26billion) to €2.5billion (£2.1billion).

Susan Stipp, a geochemist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said: “It was a matter of losing big bucks versus losing people.”

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But the for the Fagradalsfjall eruption, it is a much different story as the travel is unlikely even to be disrupted.

And the nature of the eruptions are rather different.

During its eruption last year, it started off with a fissure that was just 180 metres (600ft) long, according to tourism website Visit Iceland.

The website adds: “The lava flow was soon concentrated in two craters that erupted continuously. There was no explosive activity producing ash plumes, as happened in the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption, causing a shutdown in air traffic over Europe.

“In this case, the eruption turned out to be an effusive fissure eruption, producing a steady outflow of basaltic lava of about 6m3 and releasing volcanic gases.”

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And IcelandAir, a major Icelandic airline, does not appear to be worried about the current eruption either.

It tweeted: Look who’s back! A Volcanic eruption started this afternoon from a 100-metre fissure in Meradalir at Fagradalsfjall, the site of last year’s eruption. Iceland’s summer just got hotter!”

The fissure from the current eruption is thought to be around 500 metres (1,640ft) long, with lava flowing at a speed of a few cubic metres per second.

Thorvaldur Thordarson, a professor in volcanology at the University of Iceland, has warned that people in the area should avoid breathing in the “cloud” of sulphur gas being coming out of the volcano.

The eruption also came after a 4.6 magnitude of earthquakes in the region just an hour prior to the event. The Icelandic Met Office has also urged people not to go near the volcano as gas in the area can be hazardous.



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