Icelandic volcano erupts, triggers state of emergency



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A volcanic eruption in Iceland sent the country into a state of emergency overnight Sunday morning as lava flows barreled towards and narrowly missed the 3,800-person town of Grindavik. 

The eruption marked the fourth in three months on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland’s southwest. Iceland’s Meteorological Office said the eruption began overnight, with a nearly two-mile fissure opening up in the Earth and pouring out lava.

Grindavik was evacuated during the region’s first eruption in December, which marked the first volcanic activity in the area in 800 years. The few people who returned to their homes were again evacuated Saturday. 

Defensive walls constructed in preparation for further eruptions shifted the lava flows around the town, Icelandic authorities said. 

The first two eruptions in December and January lasted days, while one last month lasted just hours. The January eruption destroyed some buildings in the town.

Sunday’s eruption is believed to be the largest of the four, geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson told Icelandic outlet RUV.

There have been no confirmed deaths from the four eruptions, though one worker has been declared missing after reportedly falling into a volcanic fissure.

No flight disruptions were reported at nearby Keflavik, Iceland’s main airport.

The Associated Press contributed.

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