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Fifth Iceland Volcano Eruption Red Lava and Smoke Spew Again

NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, a volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted for the fifth time since December, reigniting concerns for the coastal town of Grindavik and leading to the evacuation of the renowned Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The eruption was preceded by a series of earthquakes north of the town, prompting fears as the volcano surged to life after centuries of dormancy.

While the volcanic activity eventually began to wane in the evening, it marked the most intense eruption in the area to date. Lava spewed as high as 50 meters (165 feet) into the air from a fissure stretching 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles), according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Protective barriers deployed around Grindavik successfully diverted the lava flow, which had already severed two of the three roads leading to the town and encroached upon the third. Mayor Fannar Jonasson conveyed concerns, stating, "It's a much larger volume that's on the move right now headed for town. The lava has already conquered (a lot)."

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In anticipation of the eruption, workers and remaining residents were instructed to evacuate, including patrons of the Blue Lagoon thermal spa, a renowned tourist attraction.

At one juncture, scientists observed a dark plume of ash rising above the crater, indicative of an explosive interaction between magma and groundwater. Although the resulting cloud did not reach heights posing immediate aviation threats, ongoing surveillance by scientists continued, as conveyed by Johanna Malen Skuladottir of the Met Office to RUV.

Grindavik, positioned approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, has remained under threat since November, when seismic activity prompted an initial evacuation prior to the December 18 eruption. Subsequent eruptions in February and March breached some defensive fortifications, engulfing several structures, with the February 8 eruption damaging a pipeline, disrupting heat and hot water services for thousands.

Situated above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic, Iceland is accustomed to frequent volcanic activity and boasts robust mitigation measures. The most notable eruption in recent memory occurred in 2010 with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which unleashed colossal ash clouds, resulting in widespread airspace closures across Europe.

May 30, 2024 11:04 a.m. 469

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