World

Volcanic eruption in Iceland subsides but scientists warn of further activity

Iceland’s Meteorological Office said the eruption had decreased significantly.

Lava crosses the main road to Grindavik (Marco Di Marco/AP)
Pictures of the Week-Global-Photo Gallery Lava crosses the main road to Grindavik (Marco Di Marco/AP) (Marco Di Marco/AP)

A volcanic eruption in southwestern Iceland appears to have subsided, though scientists are warning that the area may experience further eruptions in the coming months.

Iceland’s Meteorological Office said late on Thursday that the eruption had decreased significantly.

It began at about 6am local time on Thursday in the area northeast of Mount Sylingarfell, the country’s Met Office said.

Lava hitting a hot water pipeline and flowing onto the road leading to the Blue Lagoon, in Grindavik, Iceland (Marco Di Marco/AP)
Iceland Volcano Lava hitting a hot water pipeline and flowing onto the road leading to the Blue Lagoon, in Grindavik, Iceland (Marco Di Marco/AP) (Marco Di Marco/AP)

It prompted the evacuation of the popular Blue Lagoon thermal spa and cut off heat and hot water to several communities on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern corner of the island.

Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said authorities hope to restore hot water to the area by midday on Friday, national broadcaster RUV reported.

The eruption site is about four kilometres northeast of Grindavik, a coastal town of 3,800 people that was evacuated before a previous eruption on December 18. The town was not threatened by Thursday’s eruption.

Aerial view of the volcano erupting (Almannavarnir via AP)
Iceland Volcano Aerial view of the volcano erupting (Almannavarnir via AP) (AP)

Benedikt Ofeigsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Met Office, told RUV that the area can expect an eruption every month or so over the next few months.

“In the long term, it’s very difficult to say, but in the short term, the next months, we will probably continue to see repeated magma intrusions and eruptions,” he said.