Homes go up in flames as lava reaches evacuated town after volcano eruption

World

A volcano has erupted in the same peninsula in southwest Iceland where molten rock was seen spewing from fissures in the ground in December.

The eruption began north of the town of Grindavik, which this weekend was evacuated over fears an eruption might be imminent amid a swarm of seismic activity.

Barriers of earth and rock were built to prevent lava from reaching Grindavik, but the latest eruption appears to have penetrated the defences.

“According to the first images from the coast guard’s surveillance flight, a crack has opened on both sides of the
defences that have begun to be built north of Grindavík,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said in a statement.

The eruption on Sunday is the fifth to take place in the Reykjanes peninsula since 2021, state broadcaster RUV reports.

It comes weeks after intense earth activity in the region culminated in a spectacular eruption in December, with lava emerging from a two-mile-long crack in the Earth’s surface.

December’s eruption started in the Svartsengi volcanic system following the complete evacuation of the town of Grindavik’s 4,000 inhabitants and the closing of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a popular tourist spot.

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Grindavik was ultimately spared as the lava flowed in a different direction from the town.

On Saturday, rescuers were searching for a man who fell into a crack in the ground that opened up after last month’s eruption.

The man had been working to fill crevasses formed by earthquakes and volcanic activity in the town of Grindavik, which had been evacuated in November, according to local media.

Hundreds of people have been looking for him since Wednesday but had to stop shortly before midnight on Thursday due to a rockfall.

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