A volcano erupts in Iceland near Reykjavik

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted on the Reykjanes peninsula on Friday, following thousands of smaller earthquakes in the region a few weeks ago, the country’s geology office said.

The peninsula, which is southwest of the capital Reykjavik, is a hot seismic hotspot, with at least 40,000 earthquakes in recent weeks.

“A volcanic eruption has begun in Fagradalsfjall,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a tweet, referring to a mountain located about 30 kilometers southwest of the capital.

Photos on local media websites showed a night sky shining bright red.

All air traffic in and out of Keflavik International Airport has been suspended, the office told Reuters.

A helicopter with scientists was deployed to assess the extent of the explosion, the office said.

Reporting with Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; Edited by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis