A volcano erupted near a glacier in southern Iceland, shooting ash and molten lava into the air and forcing the evacuation Sunday of hundreds of people from a nearby village.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the volcano but a state of emergency was declared in communities near a glacier in southern Iceland, and scientists feared the eruption could trigger a larger and potentially more dangerous eruption at the nearby Katla volcano.
Saturdays eruption, which occurred just before midnight local time, came weeks after a series of small earthquakes. Television footage showed lava flows along the fissure.
This was a rather small and peaceful eruption but we are concerned that it could trigger an eruption at the nearby Katla volcano, a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage, said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Icelands Institute of Earth Science.
Authorities evacuated 450 people in the area 160 kilometers southeast of the capital, Reykjavik. Evacuation centers were set up near the village of Hella.
Iceland sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the mid-oceanic ridge. Volcanic eruptions are often triggered by seismic activity when the Earths plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.
Authorities initially feared the eruption occurred below the 160 square-kilometer glacier and could have triggered floods if the glacial ice melted. Scientists, however, concluded from an aerial survey Sunday that the eruption occurred near the glacier in an area where there was no ice.