COPENHAGEN/OSLO (Reuters) – A volcanic eruption in Iceland close to the capital Reykjavik is slowing and gas pollution is easing, experts said, but residents should still keep clear of the volcano which has been spewing out toxic gas.

The eruption has decreased considerably, the Icelandic Met Office, Vedur, said on Tuesday, adding people should keep out of the restricted eruption site.

The Litli Hrutur volcano, which lies some 60 km (37 miles) from the country’s capital, has attracted interest with some people trying to get closer to the site, a 9-kilometre (5.6 miles) uphill walk from the nearest car park.

Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, a spokesperson at the department of civil protection and emergency management, said while it wasn’t dangerous to be outside, the situation was unpredictable and children should not be allowed near the area even when restrictions are eventually lifted.

The department late on Monday encouraged residents of the Reykjanes peninsula to shut windows and switch off ventilation.

The Met Office had earlier warned of high gas pollution around the eruption, from which lava is flowing, but said there was no ash.

The hazardous gases are expected to affect the Fagradalsfjall area south of the eruption, away from densely populated areas, according to a Vedur weather forecast map.

“This has become a small eruption, which is very good news,” Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland, told the Icelandic broadcaster RUV earlier on Tuesday.

The eruption follows intense seismic activity over the past few days and is classified as a fissure eruption, which does not usually result in large explosions or a significant amount of ash in the stratosphere, the Icelandic government said.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen and Victoria Klesty; Editing by Robert Birsel, Devika Syamnath, Emma Rumney, Alexandra Hudson)

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