Iceland: Fagradalsfjall volcano causes fissure during eruption
A volcano in Iceland is spewing out boiling lava and “life-threatening” toxic gases, after beginning to erupt on Monday. Spectacular video clips show red bubbling lava teeming down from the volcano, which is located on Mount Fagradalsfjall, 20 miles from the capital Reykjavík. However, the poisonous gases that present a lethal threat to life if inhaled but are invisible to the naked eye.
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Police have moved quickly to seal off access to the site of the eruption, as well as issuing health warnings to residents in the vicinity.
The local population in the nearby Reykjanes peninsula were told to stay at home and sleep with their windows closed and ventilation systems turned off, due to the threat posed by the toxic gases.
The department of civil protection and emergency management said on Monday night: “The police, after counsel from scientists, have decided to restrict access to the eruption site due to enormous and life-threatening toxic gas pollution.
“For the next hours, it is highly likely that gas will build up around the eruption site due to low wind.
“Those who have already undertaken the hike to the eruption site, or are already there, are strongly advised to leave the area.”
The eruption was preceded by five days of seismic activity, culminating in an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale.
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Photos shot by drones show vast churning rivers of lava and smoke billowing into the sky.
This is the third time in two years that lava has flowed from the area, as a result of a volcanic eruption.
Despite the volcanic activity, there has been little disruption to flights from the nearby Keflavik airport, which is some 20 miles southeast of the mountain.
The airport said on Tuesday it remained open and no flights were affected.
Some domestic flights were delayed yesterday after the eruption created a plume of smoke over a road connecting Reykjavik and Keflavik airport.
The latest eruption is classified as a fissure eruption, which does not usually result in large explosions or a significant amount of ash in the stratosphere, the Icelandic government said in a statement late on Monday.
However, Iceland’s Meteorological Office (IMO) said it was keeping a close eye on where the lava is coming from, and how the eruption changes over the next few hours.
Iceland is the biggest and most active volcanic region in the whole of Europe. The country sits between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
These plates are drifting in opposite directions and the shifting is partly responsible for all the volcanic activity in the country.
One of the. Out disruptive eruptions occurred back in 2010, when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano spewed huge clouds of ash into the atmosphere, leading to widespread travel chaos across Europe.
More than 100,000 flights were grounded, stranding millions of international travellers and halting air travel for days because of concerns the ash could damage jet engines.
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