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Volcanic Eruption on Reykjanes

Latest Update: Volcanic Eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula

Updated on 21th of March

A new volcanic eruption started at 8:23 pm on 16th of March,near Grindavík, between Hagafell and Stóra-Skógfell. This location is very close to the previous eruption that occurred on February 8. Evacuations in Grindavík and the Blue Lagoon area were carried out swiftly and efficiently following the eruption.

Keflavik Airport, other regional airports, and tour operations in Iceland remain unaffected and fully operational.

The lava has crossed Grindavíkurvegur, the primary route connecting Grindavík to the northern Reykjanes Peninsula. Protective barriers have successfully contained the lava near Svartsengi and Grindavík.

The eruption continues with a decreased but stable activity. Lava flow from the craters remains mostly to the south, with active lava flow fronts on top of the lava that flowed at the beginning of the eruption.

Impact of the Eruption on Overall Safety and Travel in Iceland

Keflavík International Airport is and has been operating at full capacity. The nature of the eruptions in this area is non-explosive, producing no volcanic ash or ash clouds, hence not impacting air traffic. Authorities have sealed off a small region near the eruption site for safety, impacting only a limited area. This includes the nearby Blue Lagoon, resulting in the temporary closure of both the spa and the hotel.

The rest of the country remains unaffected and continues to offer a secure and hospitable environment. Tours and activities throughout Iceland are safe and operating normally and on schecule, promising a delightful ans safe travel experience.

A Timeline of Recent Seismic and Volcanic Activity

The Reykjanes Peninsula, renowned for its otherworldly landscapes, has captured the world’s attention due to a remarkable series of volcanic events. After a quiescent period of nearly 800 years, this region has reawakened with an eruption in 2021, marking the beginning of a new chapter in its geological history.

The Fagradalsfjall Eruptions

In 2021, the eruption at Fagradalsfjall marked the end of the 800 years of dormancy in the region. This event occurred in an uninhabited area and quickly became a global spectacle, providing an extraordinary and intriguing insight into the Earth's geological processes. It lasted for six months and posed no threat to human life or infrastructure, allowing for safe observation and study.

In the two years that followed, two more, although shorter eruptions (named Geldingadalir and Litli-Hrútur) occurred in the area, each continuing the pattern of gentle effusion. These eruptions, while impressive, remained non-threatening, allowing us to marvel at their beauty from a safe distance.

The Timeline of the Current Volcanic Activity and the "Grindavík eruptions"

Four months after the last lava flows cooled, a crescendo of tremors has captured our attention once more.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office noted a surge in seismic activity near the small town of Grindavík around October 24th, indicating the possibility of a volcanic eruption.

This upcoming eruption was expected to be quite different from the previous ones. Although still expected to be non-explosive, the seismic patterns and other indicators pointed to lava accumulating directly beneath the town, home to nearly 4000 residents. The volume of lava hinted that this eruption could be significantly larger than its predecessors. Consequently, as a precaution, Grindavík was evacuated.

On the 18th of December, in the late evening hours, a volcanic fissure eruption started on about four kilometres northeast of Grindavík. Initially, the eruption was marked by striking lava fountains along an approximately 4 km long fissure. However, the intensity of the eruption diminished quickly, leading to its conclusion after just three days. The lava did not enter the town, but large fissures opened in the ground across the town.

After a decrease in seismic and volcanic activity, residents were allowed to return home for the Christmas holidays. Tragically, a local worker, involved in efforts to fill a fissure, fell into a crevasse and lost his life.

Following this incident, the town was declared unsafe, prompting a renewed evacuation order. Shortly after this evacuation, an increase in seismic activity led to an eruption close to the town on the 14th of January.

The area is currently closed, and we urge everyone to avoid the vicinity and refrain from entering any closed roads for safety. Follow and download their app for safety information.

On 14th of January, another volcanic fissure eruption started on the 14th of january in the morning southeast of Hagafell mountain, a few hundred meters from the town of Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Hours later, another fissure formed just north of the town, leading to lava engulfing three residential houses.

Fortunately, due to timely evacuation efforts prior to the eruption, there were no injuries. By the following morning, the second fissure had ceased activity, and the lava flow towards the town had halted. The eruption in the initial, longer fissure has also ended and it only lasted about 41 hours.

On February 8th, a new volcanic fissure eruption began early morning , northeast of Sýlingarfell mountain. The initial fissure, stretching 3 kilometers, directed lava flows westward. The lava has reached and flowed over the road leading to the Blue Lagoon. The hotel has been evacuated, and the spa was temporarily closed. The eruption lasted less than 24 hours and ended on the 9th of February.

Reliable Information Sources

We would also like to remind you that international media coverage can occasionally amplify or misinterpret events. Therefore, we encourage you to seek information from our local Icelandic channels, as they are the most reliable and accurate sources for current updates and information regarding the situation in Iceland.

Our team is closely monitoring the situation and is here to support you with any concerns or inquiries you may have.

Are there any alternatives to the Blue Lagoon?

The Blue Lagoon, being in close proximity to the eruption site, is temporarily closed. However, there are many other wonderful geothermal baths we can recommend for a relaxing and unique experience. From our extensive selection, we'd like to highlight two exceptional options:

Situated less then an hour's drive from Reykjavík, Hvammsvík is a hidden gem among Iceland's tourist attractions. This captivating geothermal spa is beautifully situated in a serene fjord surrounded by unspoiled nature.

If you're looking to stay close to the city, you can immerse yourself in warmth at the oceanside geothermal Sky Lagoon, located only a few kilometers outside Reykjavík.