Long-dormant volcano comes to life near Iceland capital

Iceland volcano

"We ask people to stay calm and not under any circumstances go close to the eruption site or on Reykjanesbraut".

The department began recording a rise in daily earthquakes and other seismic activity on the peninsula on February 24.

Per the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula began around 8:45 pm local time.

Police and coast guard officials raced to the scene late Friday, but the public has been advised to stay away from the area.

"There is no indication of production of ash and tephra, and there is no imminent hazard for aviation", the Met Office said on its website.

Pollution can exceed acceptable limits, even far away, depending on the winds.

Today's eruption is known as an effusive eruption when lava flows steadily out of the ground.

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The Reykjanes Peninsula hadn't seen an eruption of any volcano in 781 years, though there had been signs of a possible eruption recently, with earthquakes occurring daily for the past three weeks.

The Krysuvik volcanic system has been inactive for nearly 900 years, according to the Meteorological Office.

But the region has been under increased surveillance for several weeks after a 5.7-magnitude natural disaster was registered on February 24 near Mount Keilir on the outskirts of Reykjavik.

The number of quakes had slowed down in recent days, however, leading geologists to say that an eruption would be less likely.

Iceland has more than 30 active and extinct volcanoes. The country has had an eruption every five years on average. Much of the island is composed of (long-ago cooled) volcanic rock.

That eruption did not cause any major disruptions outside the immediate vicinity.

In 2010, an eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland sent clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere, interrupting air travel between Europe and North America because of concerns the material could damage jet engines.

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