19 December , By James Smith
A volcano erupted on the Reykjanes peninsula in south-west Iceland following weeks of intense earthquake activity.
Approximately 4,000 people were evacuated from the fishing town of Grindavik, and the nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa was closed as a precaution.
The eruption began north of Grindavik at 22:17 local time, as reported by the Icelandic Met Office.
The region around Reykjavik had witnessed increased earthquake activity since late October, leading up to the eruption.
Social media posts featured images and videos depicting lava bursting from the volcano shortly after a seismic event.
A coastguard helicopter was dispatched to confirm the precise location and size of the eruption.
The Icelandic Met Office indicated that the eruption, 4km north-east of Grindavik, had seismic activity moving towards the town.
The volcanic crack measured approximately 3.5km, with lava flowing at a rate of 100 to 200 cubic metres per second, surpassing previous eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula.
A senior police officer at Civil Defence described the eruption as a "quite a large event," with lava flowing in various directions from a large crack.