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Iceland volcano, dormant for 6,000 years, comes to life

The glow from the lava from the Fagradals Mountain volcano could be seen from the outskirts of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.

REYKJAVÍK, Iceland — A long dormant volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland flared to life Friday night, spilling lava down two sides in that area's first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.

Initial aerial footage, posted on the Facebook page of the Icelandic Meteorological Office, showed a relatively small eruption so far, with two streams of lava running in opposite directions. The glow from the lava could be seen from the outskirts of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, which is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) away.

The Department of Emergency Management said it was not anticipating evacuations because the volcano is in a remote valley, about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the nearest road.

The Fagradals Mountain volcano had been dormant for 6,000 years, and the Reykjanes Peninsula hadn't seen an eruption of any volcano in 781 years.

There had been signs of a possible eruption recently, with earthquakes occurring daily for the past three weeks. But volcanologists were still taken by surprise because the seismic activity had calmed down before the eruption.

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