From Iceland — Eruption Watch 2022: Public Safety Briefing Held

Eruption Watch 2022: Public Safety Briefing Held

Published August 3, 2022

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A public safety briefing was held at 17:30 at the Rescue Center in Skógarhlíð following the eruption that started at the Reykjanes Peninsula earlier today, Vísir reports.

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The meeting was attended by Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson from the University of Iceland, Elín Björk Jónasdóttir from the Icelandic Met Office and Víðir Reynisson from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management.

According to Víðir, there are about a thousand people in the area, and half of them are probably foreigners. He encourages people to be careful and to wait before more information is available on the possible danger of the eruption.

Magnús Tumi says that he’s not exactly surprised as the scenario of this eruption reminds him a lot of 2021. “There is a crack about 300 meters long. This is considerably bigger than last year. This is about 5-10 times bigger. It doesn’t mean it’s a big eruption, but you have to be careful,” he says.

A lava pond is forming and will likely drain into Meradalir. Magnús Tumi is unsure how long it will last, but the beginning of the eruption is considerably more powerful than in 2021.

The eruption is a bit further away from roads and settlements than last year. As of today, no infrastructure is at risk. However, if the eruption continues with the current power, infrastructure in the area might be at risk.

Elín Björk says that there’s more gas in this eruption than last year. Since the amount of magma that came up is 5-10 times more than last year, there’s much more gas. Those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, the elderly, and small children should avoid coming close to the valley.

This eruption is unlikely to affect international or domestic flights because there is no ash.

Víðir says that a consultation group has been set up by the ministries to examine the protection of infrastructure and increased energy supply security. That work continues and we will learn more about the situation in the coming days.

At the moment, people willing to see the eruption are recommended to be very careful and wait a few days before going to the volcano. Those who are going on a hike anyway are reminded that the road to the volcano is longer and more rocky than last year. If people are going to the area they need to be well dressed and monitor wind direction.

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