The volcanic eruption, which has been ongoing for more than two weeks in Iceland about 40 kilometers from Reykjavik, spread on Monday with a new fault spewing lava, according to the meteorological institute and live images from Icelandic television.
The new crack, about 200 meters long, is about a kilometer from the first focus of the eruption in the Geldingadalir valley, on the edge of Mount Fagradalsfjall, announced the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO). in a press release.
The new crack opened “around noon” local time and GMT, according to the organization.
Small amounts of orange magma erupt from the ground, releasing fumes, according to live images broadcast by public television RUV. Lava from the new rift flows into another nearby small valley named Merardalir.
Access to the site, where many visitors have thronged since the eruption began on March 19, has been closed as a precaution and is being evacuated, IMO and Icelandic police said.
Icelandic vulcanologists, who initially predicted a short-lived eruption, now expect several weeks or even much longer.
The last eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula, that region in southwest Iceland where the eruption occurs, dates back almost eight hundred years and spanned three decades with several eruptive episodes from 1210 to 1240.
The site has become the attraction of the moment in Iceland: at the last check-in on Sunday, 36,293 people had visited the foot of two small craters calmly spilling lava – which now covers 30 hectares – since the installation of a counter by the Icelandic Tourist Board on March 24.