Experts said a volcano that erupted near Iceland's capital Reykjavik for the first time in 900 years and spewed glowing red lava appeared to be subsiding and posing no danger to people.
Streams of red lava spilled and flowed from a fissure in Geldingadalur, a valley near Mount Fagradalsfjall on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland.
As the lava flow slowed due to rain on Saturday, a blue gas plume and a vapour cloud rose from the site, which is only 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital and near a popular tourist destination, the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
The eruption occurred around 20:45 GMT on Friday, illustrating the night sky with a crimson glow as hundreds of small earthquakes shook the area.
The Keflavik International Airport and the small fishing port of Grindavik are only a few kilometers away, but the area is uninhabited and the eruption posed no danger to the public.
“At this stage, the eruption is considered small, and volcanic activity has slightly decreased since yesterday evening,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), which monitors seismic activity, said in a statement on Saturday.
It said the “eruptive fissure” measured approximately 500 to 700 metres (1,640 to 2,300 feet).
The lava area, it added, was less than one square kilometre (0.4 square miles), with small lava fountains.
Speaking to reporters, University of Iceland geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson described the valley as an “ideal” spot for the eruption, likening it to “a bathtub the lava can slowly leak into”.
An eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 released clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere, disrupting air travel between Europe and North America due to concerns that the material could damage jet engines.
Over 100,000 flights were cancelled, leaving millions of passengers stranded.