Steam and lava on Monday spurted from a new fissure on an Icelandic volcano that began erupting last month, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of hikers who had come to see the spectacle.
The new fissure, first spotted by a sightseeing helicopter, was about 500m long and about 1km from the original eruption site in the Geldinga Valley.
The Icelandic Department of Emergency Management announced an immediate evacuation of the area, saying that there was no imminent danger to life due to the site’s distance from popular hiking paths.
The new volcanic activity was not expected to affect traffic at nearby Keflavik Airport, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
The long-dormant volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland flared to life on March 20 after tens of thousands of earthquakes were recorded in the area in the past three weeks.
It was the area’s first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.
Live footage from the area showed small spouts of lava coming from the new fissure.
Geophysicist Magnus Gudmundsson said that the volcanic eruption could be moving north from its original location.
“We now see less lava coming from the two original craters,” he said. “This could be the beginning of a second stage.”
Iceland, located above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic, averages one volcanic eruption every four to five years.
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