A newly active volcanic system in Iceland's southwest erupted for the third time in two months yesterday, spouting lava fountains over 100 feet high and sending flows across main roads. A key hot water pipe from a power plant serving the area—currently seeing below-freezing temperatures—was destroyed. Officials signaled more activity is likely in the coming months.
The Svartsengi system, a collection of craters and fissures roughly 20 miles southwest of Reykjavik, erupted in December for the first time in centuries. The system sits atop the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, and its volcanic energy has long supplied the heat for the popular Blue Lagoon spa and the Svartsengi geothermal power plant.
A second eruption in January brought lava flows to Grindavik, a fishing town of 3,500, forcing an ongoing evacuation after three houses were destroyed. See photos of the two-mile wide fissure and its flows.