(Bloomberg) -- A volcanic eruption resumed in Iceland with more force than before after roughly a three-week pause near a fishing town already severely damaged from a spate of earlier seismic events.

The highest lava fountains are rising to a height of up to 70 meters (230 feet) from the eruption that started at 12:46 p.m. on Wednesday in an area north of Grindavik — the same crater series in which four previous outbursts have occurred, according to the Met Office.

“There’s considerably more lava flow at the beginning of this eruption than in previous ones,” Benedikt Ofeigsson, a geophysicist at the Met Office, said by phone. “Time will tell how long it lasts.”

The rift was initially estimated to be about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) long, but widened to 3.4 kilometers.

It’s the eighth eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula near the capital city since 2021, when the area awoke from an 800-year dormancy. The first three were in uninhabited areas. Scientists have warned that volcanic events are likely to happen there at regular intervals in the future.

Iceland is one of the most geologically active places on earth due to its position between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates on the mid-Atlantic ridge. It has about 30 volcanic systems and more than 600 hot springs.

The frequent eruptions — five since December — have wreaked havoc on the fishing town Grindavik. The townsfolk, who make up about 1% of Iceland’s population, have mostly relocated. Still, as many as 30 houses have remained occupied as authorities have intermittently allowed residents back into town, evacuating them when danger appeared imminent. The town was again cleared Wednesday.

The previous eruption ended May 9, having lasted 54 days.

“The magma intrusion is moving closer to the town of Grindavik,” the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said.

As many as 200 workers have also been present in Grindavik, mainly in the harbor, according to the police. Authorities have built earth barriers around the town to shield it from lava damage.

By 2:50 p.m. local time, lava flows had overrun the road into the town, and reached the protective ramparts.

Fissure eruptions on land produce little ash and usually have little impact on air travel. As in previous volcanic incidents recently, flights in and out of the country are expected to face no disruptions, Gudjon Helgason, spokesman at airport operator Isavia, said by phone.

--With assistance from Thomas Hall.

(Updates with details from the Met Office from the first paragraph.)

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