From Iceland — Press Conference On Eruption Situation In Southwest Iceland

Press Conference On Eruption Situation In Southwest Iceland

Published March 3, 2021

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Now that there are strong signs that an eruption in Reykjanes is on the way, a press conference was held to update the public on the situation.

Kristín Jónsdóttir, earthquake hazards coordinator at the Icelandic Met Office, told reporters that at about 14:20 today, a series of very small quakes spaced very close together began at the area now considered the most likely opening point for a possible eruption, which is located just south of Keilir.

Gas from the eruption is a very real possibility in the wake of such an eruption, which will almost certainly be a fissure vent, wherein lava pours out of a crack made in the surface of the earth. The gas will not be especially dangerous to people, but may cause discomfort.

There is also the possibility that stronger quakes may follow in the wake of the eruption, possibly up to a magnitude of 6.5. Although the lava is predicted to head in a southerly direction, it is not likely to reach people or infrastructure, and should not have a significant impact on flights.

Víðir Reynisson, chief of Civic Protection, emphasised the importance of staying calm. He repeated statements he made earlier today in saying that there is no disaster on the way. The lava will not reach people or buildings, if it happens, so everyone should remain keep relaxed.

He added that there are a lot of people in the area, scientists amongst them, and cautioned against people going to Reykjanes to check out the eruption. There are no immediate plans to close the area.

The timeframe for the eruption could be as little as a few hours, while the Holuhraun eruption, for example, took two weeks to erupt from the first signs. The eruption itself could last for days or weeks, but it is very unlikely to have an impact on international flights like Eyjafjallajökull did, as the eruption will not have much ash.

The Grapevine will keep you informed of any updates as they arise.

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