Volcano Eruption in Iceland

On March 19th, the Fagradals mountain volcano near Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, erupted after being dormant for 6,000 years. Lava began flowing out of the volcano during the night of the 19th. Many small earthquakes had been recorded since February 24th, and one was even detected hours before the eruption. According to washingtonpost.com, because of the frequency of the earthquakes, scientists believed that an eruption was likely to occur, but were unsure of when it would happen. Páll Einarsson, a professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Iceland, said, “It confirms the nature of the activity we monitored in the past few weeks… Increased seismic activity can mean magma movement and can augur eruptions.”

The lava was flowing from an eruptive fissure, and according to volcanoes.usgs.gov, a fissure on a volcano is a crack at the surface where lava comes out. On Saturday, March 20th, volcanic activity had started decreasing. Because of the small magnitude of the eruption, it didn’t produce a large explosion, therefore, there was no air travel interference. However, on the day of the eruption, authorities closed down roads near the volcano and told residents to stay away from the area because volcanoes that erupt can produce gas pollution. The area was not evacuated because the closest town to the volcano is six miles away. The lava traveled around six-tenths of a mile down the mountain. 

Iceland has 30 active volcanoes that have previously had large eruptions, but many people were still excited about this particular event because there hadn’t been an eruption in that specific area for hundreds of years. According to nytimes.com, Elísabet Pálmadóttir, a natural hazard specialist said, “It’s one of the smallest eruptions we’ve ever seen, yes, but we haven’t had an eruption there in 800 years, and it’s close to capital and to the airport.” No one was injured by the eruption and it didn’t pose a threat to any nearby structures.

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