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Iceland Declares State of Emergency as Volcano Erupts

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On Monday night, police in Iceland declared a state of emergency after a volcano erupted and spewed a river of lava toward nearby towns.

According to NBC News, the lava river flow comes from a 2 ½ mile fissure created from the volcano’s eruption, which also launched molten rock 300 feet into the air. 

The eruption, recorded at 10:17 p.m. (5:17 p.m. ET), occurred near the Keflavik International Airport, the capital city of Reykjavik and the country’s famous thermal springs, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

The lava flow has slowed since the eruption on Monday night, as lava fountains went from 300 feet to 100 feet.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, the eruption is roughly one-quarter its original size, while a third of the original fissure is active as of Tuesday afternoon local time.

Most of the lava flow is heading east towards Fagradalsfjall, while two streams are going west, north of Stóra-Skógfell. Additionally, the volcanic plume is traveling from the west and northwest, while gas pollution could be seen in Vestmannaeyjar and may be detected in the capital area late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. 

Lovísa Mjöll Guðmundsdóttir, a natural hazard expert at the meteorological office, warned that more fissures in the earth are likely. She added that at the north end of the fissure, lava is heading the Grindavík road and has already flowed about 40 percent of the way to the road.

“According to our data as of now, it will take the lava a considerable amount of time to reach the road, and if that happens, it’s difficult to evaluate. All in all, the flow of the lava is moving in a favorable direction if we keep in mind all infrastructure in this area, Grindavík town, and Svartsengi power plant, for example,” she said.

Before the volcanic eruption, residents in Grindavík, about 1.8 miles from the southern end of the fissure, were evacuated last month due to earthquakes and large cracks releasing plumes of steam on roads.

Mayor Fannar Jónasson told the Icelandic public broadcaster RUV that over 100 Grindavik-based families desperately need housing until at least January.

“Unfortunately, far too many families are not doing well enough in that respect,” he said.

Photo Courtesy: ‘Iceland volcano erupts on the Reykjanes Peninsula’/Associated Press via YouTube/12/19/23 @4:30pm

Video Courtesy: Associated Press via YouTube


Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

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