Iceland volcano erupts, lighting up the sky over Reykjanes peninsula

A volcanic eruption lit up the sky over Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula Monday night, Iceland’s meteorological office said.

The eruption was recorded at 10:17 p.m. local time north of the fishing town of Grindavík, the office said in a statement. It was preceded by an earthquake swarm at 9 p.m., the office said.

An Iceland coast guard helicopter crew was taking off to get a look at the eruption from the air and estimate a size of the breach, it said.

From the village of Hafnarfjordur, smoke is seen billowing in the distance from a volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula Monday. Oskar Grimur Kristjansson / AFP – Getty Images

The nation’s civil defense coordination center was activated as a precaution, and national police raised the nation’s civil defense preparedness level, according to a statement from civil defense officials.

Authorities asked the public not to visit the area of the volcano.

The nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal resort, popular with global travelers, said on its website it was closed as a result of the eruption.

Civil defense officials and the police commissioner of the southern Reykjanes peninsula evacuated Grindavík, with a population of roughly 3,400, in mid-November amid a drumbeat of earthquakes they saw as a harbinger of an eruption.

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