An Iceland volcano starts erupting again, spewing lava into the sky


GRINDAVIK, Iceland — A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted Wednesday for the fifth time since December, spewing red streams of lava in the latest display of nature’s power and triggering the evacuation of the popular Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

The eruption began in the early afternoon following a series of earthquakes north of Grindavik, a coastal town of 3,800 people that was largely evacuated in December when the volcano erupted.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said lava was shooting about 50 meters (165 feet) into the sky from a fissure about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) long and flowing toward Grindavik.

Grindavik, which is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, has been threatened since a swarm of earthquakes in November forced an evacuation in advance of the the initial Dec. 18 eruption. A subsequent eruption overwhelmed some defensive walls and consumed several buildings.

The area is part of the Svartsengi volcanic system that was dormant for nearly 800 years before reawakening.

The volcano erupted again in February and March. The Feb. 8 eruption engulfed a pipeline, cutting off heat and hot water to thousands of people.

Iceland, which sits above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic, sees regular eruptions and is experienced at dealing with them. The most disruptive in recent times was the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which spewed huge clouds of ash into the atmosphere and led to widespread airspace closures over Europe.

The latest eruption was unlikely to pose a risk to air travel, national broadcaster RUV quoted Guðjón Helgason, press officer with airport operator ISAVIA, as saying.



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