Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall erupts, lighting up sky near Reykjavik

Public advised to stay away and the main road from the capital region to Keflavik airport was temporarily closed on Friday.

Video Transcript

RORY CHALLANDS: Icelanders had been expecting this after 40,000 small earthquakes in recent weeks, seen as a seismic statement of intent from the Earth beneath the Reykjanes Peninsula. But how big would the big one be? Here's the answer for now, dramatic though not yet devastating. Considering it's less than 20 kilometers from the capital Reykjavik, the eruption is being closely monitored.

SARA BARSOTTI: The area that is the Reykjanes Peninsula is indeed the area where we have the main infrastructures of the country. The lava flows that are currently originating from the fissure, they are really not flowing that long from the fissure itself. So how to say? They are not putting any imminent threat to the infrastructure that are close by.

RORY CHALLANDS: By night, it's even more spectacular. Iceland is a juvenile country in geological terms, a mere 20 million years old. Its frequent growth spurts and adolescent temper tantrums are expressed in fire. The Reykjanes Peninsula is usually calm though. It's the first eruption recorded here since the 12th century. And for the moment, it's a minor one.

Certainly nothing as disruptive as the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010. Then, a huge plume of ash shut down much of Europe's airspace and caused travel chaos for almost a month. Rory Challands, Al Jazeera.