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Volcano erupts in Iceland, flowing lava reaches fishing town

23:00, Sunday, 14 January, 2024
Volcano erupts in Iceland, flowing lava reaches fishing town

A volcano erupted in southwest Iceland on Sunday, with molten lava flows reaching the outskirts of a small fishing town by midafternoon, setting some houses alight, although the town was evacuated earlier and no people were in danger, authorities said.

Fountains of molten rock and smoke spewed from fissures in the ground across a wide area stretching to the town of Grindavik, where at least one house had caught fire, live video published by daily Morgunbladid showed.

"No lives are in danger, although infrastructure may be under threat," Iceland's President Gudni Johannesson said on social media site X, adding there had been no interruptions to flights.

The eruption began early on Sunday north of the town, which just hours before had been evacuated for the second time since November over fears that an outbreak was imminent amid a swarm of seismic activity, authorities said.

Authorities built barriers of earth and rock in recent weeks to try to prevent lava from reaching Grindavik, some 40 km (25 miles) southwest of the capital Reykjavik, but the latest eruption have penetrated the town's defences.

The nearby geothermal spa Blue Lagoon had closed on Sunday, it said on its website.

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