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Iceland volcano eruption ends but leaves residents in the cold

This image shows billowing smoke and flowing lava pouring out of a new fissure during a new volcanic eruption on the outskirts of the evacuated town of Grindavik, western Iceland. —  AFP/File
This image shows billowing smoke and flowing lava pouring out of a new fissure during a new volcanic eruption on the outskirts of the evacuated town of Grindavik, western Iceland. —  AFP/File

BLUE LAGOON, Iceland: Iceland’s latest volcanic eruption appeared to have ended on Friday but left a trail of damage to roads and pipelines, cutting hot water to parts of the Reykjanes peninsula during freezing temperatures.

The eruption began on Thursday, spewing orange lava 80 metres high from a 3-km crack in the earth. However, by mid-day on Friday drone-footage showed no signs of activity at the site.

“This suggests that the eruption is ending. Volcanic tremor is no longer being detected on seismic sensors,” the Icelandic Meterological Office (IMO) said in a statement.About 15 million cubic meters of molten rock had flowed from the ground in the first seven hours of the eruption, according to an IMO estimate on Friday.

It was the third eruption in the area, just south of the capital Reykjavik, since December.The Blue Lagoon luxury geothermal spa, a tourist attraction, was closed to the public after lava covered its main access road, although the giant outdoor pool itself was unscathed, a Reuters eyewitness said after briefly being allowed to visit.

Schools, kindergartens, museums and other public institutions in the region were closed on Friday as the lava had hit hot water pipes used to supply geothermally-heated water.“It is a very bad situation to have this area without hot water, but there is electricity, there is potable water,” Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir told public broadcaster RUV.

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