Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula Volcano Erupts Amid Earthquake Swarms

A volcanic eruption occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula in south-west Iceland, following weeks of intense seismic activity. Approximately 4,000 residents of Grindavik were evacuated last month due to the risk. The eruption, visible from Reykjavik, started near Grindavik and has been described as “powerful,” with high jets of lava. Despite concerns, experts do not anticipate the same level of air travel disruption as the 2010 eruption elsewhere in Iceland.

by Emma Sullivan

Iceland has experienced a significant volcanic event on its Reykjanes peninsula, following weeks of heightened earthquake activity. The eruption began near Grindavik, a fishing town that had already seen around 4,000 of its residents evacuated in the preceding month. Eyewitnesses from Grindavik and Reykjavik, approximately 42 kilometers away, reported dramatic scenes with the sky illuminated in red and smoke billowing into the air.

The eruption, which was confirmed by the Icelandic Met Office, began late on Monday. Despite the intensity of the event, with lava jets seen from considerable distances, experts like Dr. Evgenia Ilyinskaya from Leeds University reassure that the disruption is unlikely to mirror the extensive air travel impact caused by the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull. This earlier event led to the largest closure of European airspace since World War Two.

Local residents, while accustomed to volcanic activity, expressed a mix of awe and concern. Aoalheiour Halldorsdottir from Sandgeroi, close to the eruption site, described the situation as “crazy” and “scary.” Others, like Hans Vera, who had hoped to return to Grindavik for Christmas, face continued uncertainty.

The Icelandic government, including Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir and President Gudni Johannesson, has prioritized public safety and is taking measures to protect both lives and infrastructure, including the famous Blue Lagoon tourist spot.

Authorities continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly the lava flow, which could threaten Grindavik. Meanwhile, the eruption has become a spectacle for onlookers in Reykjavik, with Hallgrimur Indrioason of RUV describing the view as “quite spectacular.”

This volcanic activity underscores Iceland’s dynamic geological landscape, marked by frequent seismic and volcanic events. The country remains vigilant, balancing the awe of natural phenomena with the need for safety and preparedness.

(Associated Medias | FAD) – All rights are reserved.