From Iceland — Seismic Roundup: Eruption Underway, Residents Advised To Keep Windows Closed

Seismic Roundup: Eruption Underway, Residents Advised To Keep Windows Closed

Published March 20, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

As reported, there is now an ongoing eruption at Fagradalsfjall. Icelandic media outlets have been calling this eruption Geldingadalsgos, after Geldingardalur, the valley where the eruption is taking place. More information has come in since the eruption first began at 21:40 Icelandic time.

What we know now is that Geldingadalsgos is a fissure eruption that is about 500 to 700 metres long, and located just east of Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula. It has been about 800 years since a volcano last erupted in Reykjanes, and this eruption is not at this time posing any immediate risk to people or infrastructure in the area.

That said, Civic Protection is advising people living in southwest Iceland to keep their windows closed tonight, on account of the danger of SO2 gas, which can cause mild burning in the eyes and throat. Winds may also carry this gas to Reykjavík.

The Icelandic Coast Guard recorded this video of the eruption, taken by helicopter and shared by the Icelandic Met Office.

Air traffic at Keflavík International Airport has not shut down and is unlikely to do so. Fissure eruptions such as Geldingadalsgos do not emit much ash, and the location of the eruption puts it far enough away from the airport and related infrastructure to not necessitate cancelling flights.

All this being the case, even those living near the eruption are most likely not in any great danger. More details to follow as they arise.

For more background on earthquakes and volcanoes in Reykjanes, read our latest feature story on what has happened, what may happen, and how Iceland responds.

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