Authorities additionally closed down roads in the vicinity and warned residents that “gas pollution” might affect the area.
Hours after bursting through, lava had traveled about six-tenths of a mile down the mountain and covered an area around one-third of a mile wide, according to the meteorological department’s website.
The department began recording a rise in daily earthquakes and other seismic activity on the peninsula on Feb. 24. By early March, it reported that a small-scale volcanic eruption was likely to occur. Still, there was no certainty around timing: The eruption itself took scientists by surprise, the AP reported, as seismic activity had decreased slightly right before it.
Iceland experienced a far more disruptive volcanic eruption in an area called Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. That volcano spewed so much molten ash it grounded flights from Europe and impacted travel worldwide for weeks.
This time around, there was more awe than shock at what nature could do.
“YESSS !!, eruption !!” Icelandic singer Björk posted on Instagram, along with a photo from a 2015 music video shoot at the volcano site. “we in iceland are sooo excited !!! we still got it !!! sense of relief when nature expresses herself !!!”