Reykjavik ( Associated Press) — A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted on Wednesday, officials said, just eight months after the most recent one erupted.
The Icelandic Bureau of Meteorology asked the public not to approach the Fagradlsfjal volcano, which is located about 32 kilometers (20 mi) southwest of the capital, Reykjavik.
The explosion occurred in a deserted valley not far from Reykjavik International Airport. The airport was still open and no flights were suspended.
Live video from the eruption site shows magma flowing through a narrow fissure 100 to 200 meters long over a lava field left behind by last year’s eruption, a first on the Reykjanes peninsula in nearly 800 years.
Scientists feared an eruption on the peninsula after a series of earthquakes last week indicated volcanic activity near Earth’s crust.
Volcanologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson told the Associated Press that the eruption seemed small.
“But we don’t know at what stage the process is,” he said, when he boarded a helicopter to visit the site.
A 2021 eruption in the same area produced months of spectacular lava flows. Thousands of people thronged the area to witness the spectacle. Iceland, located above the center of volcanic activity in the North Atlantic, has an eruption on average every four to five years.
The most disruptive of recent years was Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, which sent clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere, disrupting air travel between Europe and North America, for fear that the ash would damage turbines. More than 100,000 flights were suspended, affecting millions of passengers.
Shares of Iceland’s leading airline Icelandair were up 6% when the news broke on Wednesday. Investors and residents feared the possibility of a more intense eruption in a populated area of the peninsula.