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Watch now: Long-dormant volcano erupts in Iceland
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Watch now: Long-dormant volcano erupts in Iceland

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Following an uptick in seismic activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula for weeks, a volcano erupted on March 19, spewing lava and ash through the Geldingardalur Valley.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A long-dormant volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland flared to life Friday night, spilling lava down two sides in that area's first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.

On Saturday the Icelandic Meteorological Office said the eruption was easing and shouldn’t interfere with air travel.

The fissure eruption began at around 8:45 p.m. Friday in the Geldinga Valley, about 20 miles southwest of the capital, Reykjavik, the Met Office said. The eruption is “minor” and there were no signs of ash or dust that could disrupt aviation, the agency said.

The Fagradals Mountain volcano had been dormant for 6,000 years, and the Reykjanes Peninsula hadn't seen an eruption of any volcano in 781 years.

There had been signs of a possible eruption recently, with earthquakes occurring daily for the past three weeks. But volcanologists were still taken by surprise because the seismic activity had calmed down before the eruption.

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