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News / Nation & World

Volcano erupts in Iceland weeks after thousands were evacuated from a town on Reykjanes Peninsula

By Associated Press
Published: December 18, 2023, 4:19pm

STOCKHOLM — A volcanic eruption started Monday night on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, turning the sky orange and prompting the civil defense to be put on high alert.

The eruption appears to have occurred about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the town of Grindavík, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said. Webcam video from the scene appears to show magma, or semi-molten rock, spewing along the ridge of a hill.

In November, police evacuated the town or Grindavik after strong seismic activity in the area damaged homes and raised fears of an imminent eruption.

A coast guard helicopter will attempt to confirm the exact location — and size — of the eruption.

Grindavik, a fishing town of 3,400, sits on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the capital, Reykjavik and not far from Keflavik Airport, Iceland’s main facility for international flights. The nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal resort, one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions, has been shut at least until the end of November because of the volcano danger.