Iceland volcano eruption sparks travel fears, risky photo shoots


A massive volcano erupting near a global transportation hub, Iceland’s Keflavik Airport, prompted close surveillance by officials and sparked fascination with people who ventured near the bright orange lava flows despite warnings.

The Fagradalsfjall volcano in the southwest Iceland erupted at 1:18 p.m. local time on Wednesday, according to to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, which urged people to stay away from the sparsely populated area of ​​the Reykjanes Peninsula – although some still went nearby to take photos with their children and fly drones.

Classified as a volcanic fissure, the eruption occurs about 10 miles from Keflavik International Airport and about 20 miles from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. As of Thursday morning, the airport – which has flights from Seattle, London and Frankfurt – stayed open and operational.

“Currently there have been no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open,” the State Department said in a expression.

International travelers will remember the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which spewed huge plumes of ash into the atmosphere, disrupting air travel and leaving millions stranded.

“What we know so far is that the outbreak poses no risk to populated areas or critical infrastructure,” Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said in a statement. “We will of course continue to monitor the situation closely.”

A volcanic fissure does not typically result in large explosions or significant ash spreading into the stratosphere. But people have been warned to stay away because of the danger of toxic fumes and hot magma.

“The eruption follows intense seismic activity over the past few days. It is considered relatively small and due to its location, the threat to populated areas or critical infrastructure is low.

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The exact location of the eruption is in Meradalir, about 1 mile north of Mount Stori-Hrutur, according to the Icelandic Met Office.

The area has experienced “strong earthquakes” in the last few days before the eruption, it is said added, and warned of continued shaking, rockfalls and gas pollution. The same volcano erupted last year, it saidand lasted about six months.

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Volcanoes are a fact of life in Iceland, a country that lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge caused by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. On Averagethe country experiences a volcanic event about every four years.

However, the same geological activity is also responsible for some of the country’s most dramatic natural features, such as black-sand beaches and geothermal lagoons, which attract millions of foreign tourists.

The current volcanic response is being led by the Icelandic Ministry of Disaster Prevention and Emergency Management together with the Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland. Scientists are also in the area with Coast Guard helicopters to assess the situation, the government said.

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