Small Volcanic Eruption imminent 18 kms from Reykjavik

Reykjavik, March 3 (AFP/APP): A small volcanic eruption could be imminent on the southwestern tip of Iceland some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the capital Reykjavik, authorities said on Wednesday.

Tremors signalling a potential eruption were detected on Wednesday afternoon, near Mount Keilir, inactive for the past 800 years, the Icelandic Met Office said. A 5.7-magnitude earthquake was registered in the area last week. “The magma is fracturing and it is so close to the surface… that we have to take it seriously,” Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, told AFP. While an eruption is possible, Sigmundsson cautioned that “it is not certain — the situation can last for hours or even longer with many small earthquakes.”

Police have cut off roads around the mountain, according to an AFP photographer near the area. Although Keflavik International Airport and the small fishing port of Grindavik are only a few kilometres away, the area in the immediate vicinity is uninhabited and no evacuation was announced on Wednesday. “In case of an eruption, we are expecting a small one, where lava is flowing. We are not expecting a large, explosive eruption. The impact on atmosphere, flights and living conditions of people will be minimal,” Sigmundsson said.

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