A volcano erupted this week in Iceland, near the Keflavik International Airport, and although there are no disruptions at the travel hub, authorities are still warning visitors and locals to be cautious. By Dobrina Zhekova
The eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano began on Wednesday (August 3) around 1 pm local time with an average lava output at 32 square meters per second, which is four to five times higher than an eruption that occurred last year, Icelandic news site mbl.is reported. Despite this, the publication notes that there isn’t an immediate threat as the lava flow is enclosed in the Meradalir valley.
In pics: Volcanic eruption in Iceland
However, as hikers and onlookers have gathered at the site of the eruption, authorities are warning of gas pollution that can irritate the lungs, skin, and eyes, according to Iceland tourist publication, Grapevine.is. Currently, the gases from the roughly 984-foot fissure reach between 500 meters to one kilometre (1,640-3,280 feet) in height, and reports have indicated that the gas cloud has a blue-ish tint, which means it contains sulfur dioxide, a chemical compound that can cause long-term respiratory complications.
Iceland’s Directorate of Health also published a map forecasting the direction of the gases carried by the winds and cautioned anyone hiking to the eruption site that low winds may cause the gases to accumulate in low-lying areas, which can be especially dangerous to children and dogs. The government department also recommends standing at the lava field with the wind at your back.
Currently, air traffic and infrastructure remain stable as there is no ash cloud from the eruption. A message on Keflavik Airport’s website reads that there are no disruptions to arrivals or departures from the country’s major international hub.
In Iceland, this is the second eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in 16 months. Before that, no eruption had been recorded on the Reykjanes peninsula in 800 years, according to the Iceland Review. Experts have estimated that the area, which is also where the capital Reykjavik is located, is entering a period of strong seismic activity that could mean regular eruptions and earthquakes in the next decades.
There are several live streams of the eruption here.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Mernir Eyjolfsson/Getty Images