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New eruption draws onlookers in Iceland

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On Thursday, the curious went to the site of a new eruption in a volcanic rift located in an uninhabited valley about 40 km from Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland.

This eruption, which began on Wednesday, is nearly a kilometer from the Mount Fagradalsfjall volcano in southwest Iceland, which had been erupting for six months last year.

The eruption site, in a difficult-to-reach area that requires a 90-minute walk, has already attracted more than 1,830 visitors on the first day of the rift’s appearance, according to Icelandic authorities.

Onlookers were walking to the site early on Thursday morning, despite authorities asking people on Wednesday not to visit the site before a risk assessment was carried out.

But on Thursday, Civil Protection indicated that only small children should be out of the eruption zone.

Gases from volcanic eruptions, such as sulfur dioxide, can be dangerous or even deadly.

Iceland’s meteorological institute on Thursday estimated the length of the crack at 360 meters, with lava jets reaching between 10 and 15 meters.

The lava flow in the first hours of the eruption was estimated at 32 m3 per second, according to measurements made on Wednesday by scientists from the Institute of Earth Sciences, three and a half hours after the start of the eruption.

This is about four to five times more than at the start of the 2021 eruption.

“The current eruption is much more powerful,” the institute noted on Facebook.

According to the same source, the lava from the new eruption covered an area of ​​approximately 74,000 square meters.

Iceland currently has 32 volcanic systems considered active, that is, the largest number in Europe.

str/mab/pc

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