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Climbers collide as a new crack opens in the Icelandic volcano

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REYKJAVIK, Iceland Island and lava erupted on Monday from a new crack in an Icelandic volcano that began erupting last month, causing the evacuation of hundreds of climbers who had come to see the spectacle.

The new crack, first spotted by a sightseeing helicopter, was about 500 meters (550 yards) long and about a kilometer (about half a mile) from the original site of the explosion in the Geldinga Valley.

The Icelandic Department of Emergency Management announced an immediate evacuation of the area. She said there was no imminent danger to life due to the distance of the sites from the well-known mountaineering trails.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said the new volcanic activity was not expected to affect traffic at the nearby Keflavik Airport.

The long-dormant volcano on the Reykjana Peninsula in southwestern Iceland erupted on March 20 after tens of thousands of earthquakes were recorded in the area in the last three weeks. It was the site of the first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.

The proximity of the volcanoes to the Icelandic capital, Reykjavk, about 32 kilometers (20 miles) away, has brought a steady stream of tourists to the area, even with the site partially blocked to fight the coronavirus. About 30,000 people have visited the area since the blast began, according to the Iceland Tourist Board.

Live footage from the area showed small lava gorges coming from the new crack.

Steam and lava erupt from a new crack in a volcano on the Reykjana Peninsula in southwestern Iceland, Monday, April 5, 2021. A new crack has opened in the Icelandic volcano that started erupting last month, causing the evacuation of hundreds of climbers who had come to see the spectacle. Officials say the new crack is about 500 meters (550 yards) long and about a kilometer (about half a mile) from the original site of the explosion in the Geldinga Valley (AP Photo / Marco Di Marco)

Steam and lava erupt from a new crack in a volcano on the Reykjana Peninsula in southwestern Iceland, Monday, April 5, 2021. A new crack has opened in the Icelandic volcano that started erupting last month, causing the evacuation of hundreds of climbers who had come to see the spectacle. Officials say the new crack is about 500 meters (550 yards) long and about a kilometer (about half a mile) from the original site of the explosion in the Geldinga Valley (AP Photo / Marco Di Marco)

A member of the Search and Rescue Team, Bjorgunasveit watches lava flowing from a new crack in a volcano on the Reykjana Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on Monday, April 5, 2021. A new crack has opened in the Icelandic volcano that began to erupt last months, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of climbers who had come to see the spectacle. Officials say the new crack is about 500 meters (550 yards) long and about a kilometer (about half a mile) from the original site of the explosion in the Geldinga Valley (AP Photo / Marco Di Marco)

Search and Rescue Team members Bjorgunasveit look at a new crack in a volcano on the Reykjana Peninsula in Southwest Iceland on Monday, April 5, 2021. A new crack has opened in the Icelandic volcano that started erupting last month, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of climbers who had come to see the spectacle. Officials say the new crack is about 500 meters (550 yards) long and about a kilometer (about half a mile) from the original site of the explosion in the Geldinga Valley (AP Photo / Marco Di Marco)

Geophysicist Magnus Gudmundsson said the volcanic eruption could move north from its original location.

We now see less lava coming from the two original craters, he told the Associated Press. This could be the beginning of the second phase.

Iceland, located above a volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic, averages a volcanic eruption every four to five years. The last one was in Holuhraun in 2014, when a crack eruption spread Manhattan-sized lava into the Inner Highlands region.

In 2010, ash from Iceland Eyjafjallajokull volcano shut down many international air travel for several days.

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