Eruption of Iceland volcano easing, not affecting flights

Eruption of Iceland volcano easing, not affecting flights

Meteorologists in Iceland state the eruption of a long-dormant volcano is easing and shouldn't interfere with air travel

REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- The eruption of a long-dormant volcano which sent streams of lava flowing across a little valley in southwestern Iceland is easing and should not interfere with aviation, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said Saturday.

The fissure eruption started at around 8:45 p.m. Friday in the Geldinga Valley, about 32 km (20 miles) south of the capital, Reykjavik, the Met Office said. The eruption is"small" and there were not any symptoms of ash or dust which could disrupt aviation, the agency stated.

"The more people see, the smaller this eruption gets," geophysicist Pall Einarsson told The Associated Press on Saturday after monitoring the volcano during the evening.

This southwestern corner of Iceland is the most heavily populated part of the nation. The Department of Emergency Management said it does not anticipate evacuations, unless amounts of volcanic gases grow significantly.

Keflavik Airport, Iceland's global air traffic hub, said flights have remained on schedule because the eruption started.

"There is no sign of production of ash and tephra, and there's no imminent hazard for aviation," the Met Office said on its site.

In 2010, an eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland sent clouds of ash and dust into the air, interrupting air travel between Europe and North America because of concerns the substance could hurt jet engines. More than 100,000 flights were grounded, stranding countless passengers.

The Geldinga Valley eruption is your first on the Reykjanes Peninsula in nearly 800 years.

The region started rumbling with improved seismic activity 15 weeks before, along with the tremors increased dramatically last month.

Within the previous 3 weeks, the region has been rattled by roughly 50,000 small earthquakes, dozens of them size 4 or more powerful, the Met Office said.

Iceland, situated above a volcanic hotspot from the North Atlantic, averages one eruption every four to five years. The previous one was at Holuhraun in 2014, when a fissure eruption spread lava the size of Manhattan over the inside highland region.

Researchers flew over the Geldinga Valley eruption on Saturday morning and estimated the eruptive fissure was about 500 meters (1,640 ft ) ) The two streams of lava were approximately 2.5 km from the nearest road.

Solny Palsdottir's house is the nearest to the site of the eruption, only four km (2.5 miles) away in the coastal town of Grindavik. She and her husband were watching TV on Friday night when her teenage son pointed out a reddish glow in the space.

"Not a thing I expected to have in my backyard."

"I am just relieved the flames are finished," she added.