A volcano in southwest Iceland, about 30 miles from the capital, Reykjavík, erupted Sunday for the second time in less than a month, sending lava pouring down the streets of the town of Grindavík.
The town of about 3,800 people had already been evacuated prior to the first eruption on Dec. 18, 2023. About 100 people had returned, only to be ordered to leave again before the second eruption.
No deaths have been reported, but a worker named Lúðvík Pétursson is missing after reportedly falling into a crack opened by the volcano.
Billowing smoke and flowing lava are seen in this image during an volcanic eruption on Sunday on the outskirts of the evacuated town of Grindavík.
There is no hot water or electricity in the town, Icelandic broadcaster RÚV reported.
There appears to be uncertainty about what exactly is going on with the volcano and what happens next. Magma (which is under the ground; when it comes out of the ground it’s called lava) is continuing to flow in a way that is surprising the Icelandic Meteorological Office, RÚV reported.
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson said the country was battling “tremendous forces of nature.”
“We now wait and hope and take things as they come. And now all our plans for the future must take into account that a daunting period of upheaval has begun on the Reykjanes peninsula,” he said in an address.
An aerial view of the lava flow front in the town on Monday. Iceland's president says the country is battling "tremendous forces of nature."
Emergency workers were brought in after the first eruption to build walls around the town to deflect the flow of lava.
That work had been about halfway completed when the second eruption happened, according to engineer Ari Guðmundsson.
“This event yesterday showed that they are proving their worth, and what their structure and height is like,” he said, according to RÚV.
Aerial view taken on Sunday shows emergency personnel using diggers to build a protective wall trying to prevent flowing lava from reaching the town center.
Town residents were woken up by sirens around 3 a.m. Sunday and had to flee straight away. They don’t know what their future there will look like.
“This is serious, it’s basically as bad as it can possibly get. Although it might get even worse, who knows,” evacuated resident Jon Gauti Dagbjartsson told Reuters on Sunday.
“I actually live in the house that I was born in, and it’s a tough thought to think that this town might be over, and I would have to start all over somewhere else. But if that’s the case, then that’s exactly what we’ll do,” he said.
An aerial view of the lava field with inactive southern fissure next to the town.
People watch from the north as the volcano erupts near Grindavík on Sunday.
In this handout photo provided by the Iceland Coast Guard, lava is seen spewing from a volcano on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula.
An aerial view taken on Monday shows a lava stream near Grindavík.