Iceland Volcano Spews Lava, Smoke for 2nd Day

Authorities in Iceland said on Thursday that a volcano was spewing lava and smoke for the second day, and winds carrying toxic polluting gases were expected to blow away from the capital, Reykjavik.

The Iceland Meteorological Office said the volcanic eruption, the fifth since December, is the strongest in the region since volcanic activity returned to the Reykjanes Peninsula three years ago, ending eight centuries of dormancy.

The authorities issued a new evacuation order for the town of Grindavik, where lava damaged several homes earlier this year. They also ordered the evacuation of the nearby Blue Lagoon resort, a main tourist attraction in the area.

The Civil Protection Authority said in a statement that volcanic activity declined late Wednesday, and continued in a stable state last night. There were no reports of casualties.

“Winds are expected to blow from the west today, and polluted gases may then spread to the east over southern Iceland,” the Met Office said.

Air Quality, Health Concerns

Sensors showed that the air quality was still “very good” in the capital, Reykjavik, and the surrounding areas. The meteorological station near the volcano area showed that these gases were “harmful to the health of vulnerable population groups.”

Lava flowed on the main road leading to Grindavik, and pictures published by local media on Thursday showed that the road was partially covered by large blocks of dry black rocks.

The Meteorological Office said that lava flows reached the dams built around Grindavik, causing the molten rock to drift west away from the city.

Flights are still continuing normally at Keflavik International Airport, Iceland’s largest airport.

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