Lava slows significantly after Iceland volcano erupts for fifth time since December

GRINDAVIK, Iceland – Sirens wailed across southwestern Iceland on Wednesday after a volcano erupted for the fifth time since December, shooting lava more than 160 feet into the air and threatening the seaside town of Grindavík while worried visitors to the popular tourist destination Blue Lagoon evacuated the area.

The eruption, which officials say is the most powerful thus far, began shortly before 1 p.m. local time on Wednesday after earthquakes recently shook the region north of Grindavík.

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A massive fissure opened up in the Earth, allowing for lava to flow at a high rate of speed toward the town at the start of the eruption. Lava has since slowed significantly.

Defense walls built around the town to deflect the lava held up and prevented what could have been catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

However, lava did cover many of the roads leading to and from the area.

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Iceland national public broadcaster RÚV reported that electricity had been shut off in the area due to a high-voltage line in danger of being destroyed. That was a precautionary measure, RÚV reported, because if the line had been damaged by the lava while still live, it could have caused major damage to the power plant Svartsengi.

There were also reports of massive explosions in the area and black smoke billowing into the air after magma underground came into contact with groundwater, causing an explosive reaction.

Officials were worried that those explosions would impact air travel in the region, but so far, flights to and from Iceland have not been affected by the eruption.

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However, those who traveled to Blue Lagoon were forced to gather their belongings and flee the area because of fears of a new eruption amid the intense seismic activity.

Video recorded Wednesday shows people getting out of the lagoon while sirens sounded, warning those in the area of the impending eruption.

Blue Lagoon said on its website that it would remain closed until at least Friday, at which time the situation would be reassessed.

Some information in this story was translated via Google Translate.


Original article source: Lava slows significantly after Iceland volcano erupts for fifth time since December