The eruption of a long-dormant volcano in Iceland is easing and should not interfere with air travel, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
The fissure eruption began at around 8.45pm on Friday in the Geldinga Valley, about 20 miles south-west of the capital, Reykjavik, the Met Office said. The eruption is “minor” and there were no signs of ash or dust that could disrupt aviation, the agency said.
“The more we see, the smaller this eruption gets,” geophysicist Pall Einarsson told The Associated Press after monitoring the volcano throughout the night.
This south-western corner of Iceland is the most heavily populated part of the country. The Department of Emergency Management said it does not anticipate evacuations, unless levels of volcanic gases rise significantly.
Keflavik Airport, Iceland’s international air traffic hub, said flights have remained on schedule since the eruption began.
“There is no indication of production of ash and tephra, and there is no imminent hazard for aviation,” the Met Office said on its website.
In 2010, an eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland sent clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere, interrupting air travel between Europe and North America because of concerns the material could damage jet engines. More than 100,000 flights were grounded, stranding millions of passengers.
The Geldinga Valley eruption is the first on the Reykjanes Peninsula in almost 800 years.
The area began rumbling with increased seismic activity 15 months ago, and the tremors increased dramatically last month.
Over the past three weeks, the area has been rattled by about 50,000 small earthquakes, dozens of them magnitude 4 or stronger, the Met Office said.
Iceland, located above a volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic, averages one eruption every four to five years. The last one was at Holuhraun in 2014, when a fissure eruption spread lava the size of Manhattan over the interior highland region.