From Iceland — Geldingadalir Eruption Now The Longest Of The Century

Geldingadalir Eruption Now The Longest Of The Century

Published September 16, 2021

Desirai Thompson
Photo by
Axel Sigurðarson

The Geldingadalir volcanic eruption is officially the longest-lived of the 21st century, RÚV reports. The world turned their attention to Iceland on March 19, 2021 when the eruption began. That was 181 days ago.

Until today, the longest eruption at Holuhraun lasted from August 31, 2014 to February 27, 2015. While the length of this eruption breaks a record for this century, it’s important to remember that it is merely a blip in geologic terms. Still, scientists say there is no way to predict when the eruption will end. The lava area at Geldingadalir currently measures 4.6 square kilometres, with a volume of 142 million cubic metres.

The Surtsey fires (Surtseyjareldar), which lasted from November 14, 1963 until June 1967, is considered the longest volcanic eruption in Icelandic history–taking place 18 km southwest of Heimaey in the Westman Islands.

Páll Einarsson, a geophysicist, told RÚV that scientists have learned a great deal from the current eruption at Geldingadalir. He shares, “This eruption is in the most unlikely place on the entire Reykjanes peninsula to erupt. A year ago, we would probably never have guessed that this would be the next eruption site. […] This teaches us that unlikely events happen from time to time.”

Many around the world have been closely following the eruption since the beginning through regular updates of the Grapevine’s Reykjavík Newscast. While visits to the volcano site have become a common attraction for tourists over this travel season, it is important to exercise caution and never risk your life for a photo op.

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