Video captures Icelandic volcano erupting after laying dormant for almost 800 years

Lava flows after a volcanic eruption at Fagradalsfjall Iceland

A long-dormant volcano has flared to life in south-western Iceland, spilling lava in the area's first volcanic eruption in almost 800 years.

Iceland's Meteorological Office said on Saturday morning: "Lava fountains are small and lava flows are now a very local hazard".

Keflavik Airport, Iceland's worldwide air traffic hub, said flights have remained on schedule since the eruption began. But volcanologists were still taken by surprise because the seismic activity had calmed down before the eruption.

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

There were no reports of ash fall, although tephra - solidified magma rock fragments - and gas emissions were to be expected. That volcano spewed so much molten ash it grounded flights from Europe and impacted travel worldwide for weeks.

A helicopter with scientific personnel aboard had been sent to observe the eruption, the IMO said.

Seismologists have speculated that an eruption was possible over the past weeks, with around 40,000 small tremors registered prior to Friday night's eruption.

"At around 20:45 UTC today, 19 March, a volcanic eruption began at Geldingadalur, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula ..."

The vast island near the Arctic Circle straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack on the ocean floor separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Scientists flew over the Geldinga Valley eruption on Saturday morning and estimated the eruptive fissure was about 500 meters long (1,640 feet.) The two streams of lava were about 2.5 kilometers from the nearest road. She and her husband were watching TV on Friday night when her teenage son pointed out a red glow in the distance. "Not something I expected to have in my backyard".

A magnitude 3.1 natural disaster was recorded 1.2 km from Fagradalsfjall just several hours earlier.

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