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About 1,400 people live on the Marapi slopes Givo Alputra/AP
Lava flows

Evacuations in Iceland and Indonesia due to volcanic eruptions

Sprays of ash from the eruption were seen blanketing roads and vehicles in nearby villages.

INDONESIA’S MOUNT MARAPI erupted again today, after an eruption last month killed 24 people.

No casualties were reported today.

The Marapi Volcano Observation Post in the province of West Sumatra recorded an eruption with an ash column about 4,265ft (1,300m) high from its peak, followed by ash rain.

Sprays of ash from the eruption were seen blanketing roads and vehicles in nearby villages.

On Friday, authorities began evacuating nearby residents, with the closest village only about three miles (5km) from the active volcano.

On Wednesday, Indonesian authorities raised the volcano’s alert level from level two to level three, the second-highest threat level.

Marapi is known for sudden eruptions that are difficult to predict because they are not caused by a deep movement of magma, which sets off tremors that register on seismic monitors.

Its eruption in early December shot thick columns of ash nearly two miles (3km) high that killed 24 climbers and injured several others who were caught by surprise.

About 1,400 people live on the Marapi slopes in Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang.

Marapi has been active since an eruption in January last year, which also caused no casualties.

It is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, named for the arched shape of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Iceland erruption

Meanwhile, a volcano has also erupted in south-western Iceland, sending semi-molten rock spewing towards a nearby settlement for the second time in less than a month.

The eruption this morning came after a series of earthquakes near the town of Grindavik, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

The community was evacuated overnight, Iceland’s RUV television reported.

“Lava is flowing a few hundred metres north of the town – this is 400 to 500 metres,” Kristín Jonsdottir, from the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told Iceland’s RUV television.

“Lava flows towards Grindavik.”

Residents of Grindavik were previously evacuated from their homes in November and had to stay away from the town for six weeks following a series of earthquakes and an eventual volcanic eruption. They were allowed to return on December 22.

The town of 3,800 near Iceland’s main airport was evacuated on November 10 when a series of earthquakes led to cracks and openings in the earth between the town and Sylingarfell, a small mountain to the north.

The nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa – one of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions – also closed temporarily.

In the weeks since, defensive walls had been placed around the volcano in hopes of directing the magma away from the community. But the walls of the barriers built north of Grindavik have been breached and lava is on the move towards the community, the meteorological office said.

Iceland, which sits above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic, averages an eruption every four to five years.

The most disruptive in recent times was the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which spewed huge clouds of ash into the atmosphere and led to widespread airspace closures over Europe.

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