An Iceland volcano near the town of Grindavik has erupted for the third time in just three months, with locals fearing it could last for years to come, as lava spurts from the ground
The third eruption in three months has started in Iceland amid fears more homes could be engulfed.
Lava fountains started shooting into the air at Sundhnúk shortly before 6am on Thursday morning.
Some locals claimed the eruption looks bigger than before.
It comes after experts in the scientific community told of their fear the long-dormant fault line running under the country has woken up.
There are concerns it could now erupt for years ahead.
The Norwegian Meteorological Agency said a three-kilometre (1.8 mile) crack from the volcanic eruption had been spotted on Thursday near the eastern end of Stora Skogfell, north of Grindavik.
Dramatic photographs have shown the new eruption visible for miles across Iceland, with the smoke and bright orange glow from the lava illuminating the dark winter skies above the capital of Reykjavik. The town of Grindavik to the south has recently been beset by evacuation chaos, with 4,000 people having to relocate after thousands of earthquakes ripped the town apart. The first eruption took place in December before Christmas and the second in January, which saw lava reach homes on the outskirts of the abandoned fishing town.
Announcing the eruption, Icelandic authorities said on Thursday: “An eruption has started on the Reykjaness Peninsula. Increased seismic activity was observed at 05:40 this morning, and it was a magma run, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Agency.
“Then at 6 this morning, another eruption began in the Sundhnúks crater series, north of Sýlingarfell. Earlier, the announcement by the Norwegian Meteorological Agency stated that a magma flow had begun and there was an increased chance of an eruption at Sundhnúks crater.”
The Coastguard are preparing for a flight to find out the extent of the eruption. Current assessments by the Icelandic Met Office say the eruption is in a similar location as the last time, but located slightly further north, and it is thought it could last for longer. Volcanologist Thorvaldur Thordarson meanwhile told the national broadcaster RUV that while lava was currently being held up on shrubland, flows from the eruption “may put some pressure on the defences in Svartsengi.”
Grindavik residents have been able to visit their homes for short periods of time in recent weeks – but access was tightened up on Tuesday after authorities said the “chances of quick eruption and volcanic eruption” had suddenly increased. Earlier this week pictures emerged of a large crack found under an indoor football stadium. Then, The Icelandic Met Office reported magma had been accumulating again under the 4km fault line which runs near a power plant and the famous Blue Lagoon tourist attraction.
Iceland tourist bosses have been worried about the eruptions hurting visitor numbers – but one low cost airline has reported the reverse, with bookings going up. Play airline experienced a 61% surge in passenger numbers in January 2024 compared to the previous year, reaching 99,704 travellers.