Per the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula began around 8:45 p.m. local time. Lava spilled down both sides of the mountain, but it didn’t appear to be a threat to nearby towns because it is located in a remote valley. Still, the Department of Emergency Management urged residents to close their windows while the eruption occurred because volcanic gas and ash can be harmful.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and as of now it is not considered a threat to surrounding towns,” Iceland Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said in a tweet. “We ask people to keep away from the immediate area and stay safe.”
The Fagradals Mountain volcano had been dormant for 6,000 years and the Reykjanes Peninsula hasn’t experienced a volcano eruption in nearly 800 years. There had been earthquakes and other indicators of seismic activity near the volcano but things had calmed in recent days. Also, this rare eruption looks to be short-lived. The Meteorological Office reported on Saturday that the already-small eruption has decreased and the lava fountains are not as strong.