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Iceland’s Grindavík volcano has done it again

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Iceland’s Grindavík volcano has done it again

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On Saturday evening around 8.20pm local time (9.20pm in Italy) the Grindavík volcano erupted again, on the Reykjanes peninsula, in southwestern Iceland and not far from the capital Reykjavík. Some videos and photos show lava coming out of a fissure about 3 kilometers long and flowing westward, while the sky is bright red.

The city was quickly evacuated as was the nearby Blue Lagoon, a well-known Icelandic geothermal area and one of the island’s major tourist attractions. Keflavik Airport, Iceland’s main airport which is about 50 minutes’ drive from Grindavík, continued to operate regularly.

The eruption was considered imminent by local authorities and experts, but the exact moment in which it would occur was not known: the first signs of seismic activity were detected just 15 minutes before the lava began to flow.

It is the fourth time the volcano has erupted since last December. The last one was on February 8, with very similar dynamics. “This is our normality now,” she said Reuters Kristin Maria Birgisdottir, a citizen of Grindavik who left her home last November due to intense volcanic activity.

– Read also: How to protect a city from a volcanic eruption

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are very common in Iceland, because the island is located along the junction between two tectonic plates, the North American and the Eurasian. On the Reykjanes peninsula, volcanic activity has only started again in recent years after almost 800 years of quiescence. Since 2021 there have been various eruptions before this one: the most serious so far is that of January 14th, when the lava came to burn the houses of Grindavík. However, the town had been evacuated, and there were no injuries.

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In Grindavík, which has around 3,800 inhabitants, evacuations have now become frequent. The first was last November 11th, in anticipation of the eruption which occurred about a month later, but the inhabitants were only allowed to return to their homes on February 19th. However, very few decided to do so, due to the risk of new eruptions or seismic phenomena.

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