The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said on Wednesday that a volcano has erupted on a mountain near Reykjavik after days of increasing earthquake activity in the area.
Local news outlets MBL and RUV captured images and livestreams of lava and smoke erupting from a crack in the ground on the Fagradalsfjall mountain’s side, which erupted last year for six months.
The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management warned in a statement that tourists and residents should avoid the region because of noxious vapours, but there was no imminent risk to essential infrastructure.
According to the IMO, helicopters were sent in to examine the situation despite a “code red” being declared to prevent aeroplanes from flying over the site.
As a result of this year’s fissures, the aviation alert would likely be dropped to orange, which indicates a lower level of risk.
The country’s foreign ministry stated in a statement that flights to and from Iceland are not currently disrupted and that international air routes are open.
Volcanic and seismic hotspot Reykjanes Peninsula lies just 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the capital city of Reykjavik and 15 kilometres from the country’s international airport.
Last year, a fissure 500 to 750 metres (1,640 to 2,460 feet) long erupted spectacularly, attracting thousands of Icelanders and tourists to the spectacle, and lava fountains continued until September.
It is believed that this eruption will not produce as much ash or smoke as the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which disrupted around 100,000 flights and prompted hundreds of Icelanders to flee their homes.
Iceland is situated between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, two of the largest on the globe, and as the plates move in opposite directions, Iceland sees regular earthquakes and strong volcanic activity.