GRINDAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Mount Sundhnukur, a volcano in southwestern Iceland, erupted on Thursday for the third time since December, creating a stunning display of lava jets and spurring the evacuation of the popular Blue Lagoon spa. The eruption occurred at around 0600 GMT along a three-kilometer fissure northeast of Mount Sundhnukur, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Located about four kilometers northeast of the coastal town of Grindavik, which was already evacuated on December 18 due to a previous eruption, the current eruption poses no immediate threat to the town. The lava is flowing to the west, and there is no danger to the major power plant in the area either. According to civil defense officials, it is believed that no one was present in the town at the time of the eruption.
The Blue Lagoon spa, one of Iceland’s main tourist attractions, was closed when the eruption began, and all guests were safely evacuated. The Icelandic Meteorological Office had issued a warning earlier this week, indicating the possibility of an eruption after monitoring increased levels of subsurface magma for the past three weeks. The amount of magma accumulated was similar to the previous eruption in January.
The eruption is the third within a volcanic system on the Reykjanes Peninsula since December. Despite the volcanic activity, there have been no reports of disruption to Keflavik, Iceland’s main airport. Iceland experiences eruptions every four to five years due to its location above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic. The most notable eruption in recent history was in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano emitted massive ash clouds, leading to widespread airspace closures over Europe.
Grindavik, located about 50 kilometers southwest of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, was previously evacuated in November due to seismic activity from the Svartsengi volcanic system. The eruption in December caused lava to flow away from the town, and a second eruption in January sent lava toward the town, damaging several buildings.
The current eruption at Mount Sundhnukur is a captivating display of nature’s power, with fountains of lava shooting more than 50 meters into the sky. As the volcano continues to erupt, authorities will monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety of the affected areas.