Volcanic eruption sparks emergency measures in Iceland

(Xinhua) 09:57, December 19, 2023

HELSINKI, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- A volcano erupted Monday night on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

"The eruption is located close to Sundhnukagigar, about 4 km northeast of Grindavik, and it can be seen on nearby web cameras," said the office, adding that it began at 22:17 local time (2217 GMT) following the earthquake swarm that started around 21:00 (2100 GMT) Monday.

The National Police Commissioner of Iceland raised the Civil Protection Service Level from Alert to Emergency in response to the eruption. The Civil Defense Coordination Center has been activated.

The authorities asked the public not to go to the eruption site, and the emergency personnel are assessing the situation.

All roads to the town of Grindavik are closed and traffic is prohibited, including Highway 41, the main road along the north side of the Reykjanes Peninsula which connects the greater Reykjavik area and Keflavik International Airport.

The defensive fortifications that began construction recently will make a significant difference to the handling of volcanic eruption, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir was quoted by local news outlet RUV as saying.

Since Oct. 24, Icelandic meteorologists have been monitoring a rise in seismic activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula, which may signal an impending volcanic eruption. As a precautionary measure, authorities completed the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents from the town of Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula on Nov. 10.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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