A long-dormant volcano has flared to life in south-western Iceland, spilling lava in the area's first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.

Initial aerial footage, posted on the Facebook page of the Icelandic Meteorological Office, showed a relatively small eruption as two streams of lava ran in opposite directions down the Fagradals Mountain volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

The Department of Emergency Management said it was not anticipating evacuations because the volcano is in a remote valley about 1.5 miles from the nearest road.

HeraldScotland:
The glow from the lava could be seen from the outskirts of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, which is about 20 miles away.

The Fagradals Mountain volcano has been dormant for 6,000 years, and the Reykjanes Peninsula had not seen any volcanic eruptions in 781 years.

HeraldScotland:

HeraldScotland:
But volcanologists were still taken by surprise because the seismic activity had calmed down before the eruption.