Just when it seemed that the threat had passed, a volcano in Iceland erupted. An eruption fissure opened near the city after weeks of earthquakes. However, the explosion itself was not preceded by any shocks.
On Monday (December 18), late in the evening, the Reykjanes volcanic system located in southwestern Iceland erupted. The volcano began spewing lava and emitting smoke over a large area after weeks of intense earthquakes, which led to the evacuation of residents and caused cracks to form, among others. in the city of Grindavik, according to the country’s Meteorological Office. An eruption fissure has opened near Grindavik and is threatening the city.
Volcanic eruption in Iceland
When it seemed that the threat had passed and the famous Blue Lagoon attraction in Iceland was reopened to tourists, a volcano erupted on the island.
Last month, authorities evacuated nearly 4,000 residents from the fishing town of Grindavik and closed the nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa over fears of an eruption. The situation calmed down for a while, but the eruption occurred just now, in mid-December.
“Warning: Eruption has started north of Grindavik, near Hagafell,” the Met Office said on its website, noting that an eruption fissure had opened just a few kilometers from the city, with cracks in the ground extending towards a village about 40km away southwest of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.
Nearby Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik remained open, although numerous delays were reported for both arrivals and departures.
Lava and thick smoke come out of the fissure
Photos and live feeds of the eruption show lava flowing spectacularly from fissures in the ground. Its bright yellow and orange colors contrasted with the night sky.
“Seismic activity together with measurements from GPS devices indicate that magma is moving southwest and the eruption may continue towards Grindavik,” the Met Office said.
The office also reports that 100 to 200 cubic meters of lava are coming out of the fissure, which is several times more than during previous eruptions in the area.
Local police said they had raised the alert level following the explosion, and the country’s civil defense warned the public not to approach the area until authorities assessed the situation.
Since November, specialists have been looking at the Reykjanes volcanic system again. Seismologists initially said an eruption was inevitable, but activity in the area subsequently decreased.
The Reykjanes Peninsula has seen several eruptions in uninhabited areas in recent years. In March 2021, lava fountains erupted from a 500- to 750-meter-long fissure in the Fagradalsfjall regional volcanic system.
Volcanic activity in the area continued for six months this year, prompting thousands of Icelanders and tourists to visit the site. In August 2022, a three-week eruption occurred in the same area, followed by another in July this year.