From Iceland — New Eruption: Bigger Than Previous Two, Less Powerful Today

New Eruption: Bigger Than Previous Two, Less Powerful Today

Published July 11, 2023

Photo by
Joel Barger

The eruption that started on the Reykjanes Peninsula on July 10 is believed to be significantly larger than the previous two eruptions.

Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, a professor of geophysics, states that no one should go near the eruption site unless they have full gas protection equipment. The conditions can become life-threatening due to the significantly higher gas emissions compared to the eruptions of the past two years. The fissure is around 900 meters long, whereas in previous eruptions, it measured 150 to 250 meters. The amount of lava that has surfaced is ten to twenty times greater than in previous eruptions.

The amount of lava that has surfaced is ten to twenty times greater than in previous eruptions.

Eruption site closed 

At 20:00 Monday, the eruption site was closed to the public and proclaimed dangerous.

“It is evident that approaching this eruption without proper gas protection can be extremely dangerous,” Magnús Tumi said. “The plume of gas is much larger and more intense than what we witnessed in previous eruptions, primarily due to the significantly larger scale of this eruption. No one should venture close to the eruption site unless equipped with complete gas protection gear, and there are no tourists with such equipment. Nobody should approach until we have gained a better understanding of the situation, evaluated the risks, and observed how this eruption develops.”

Dangerous gas emissions

The gas emissions from the eruption can have an impact on settlements in the capital area, similar to the Holuhraun eruption in 2014. The residents of the Reykjanes Peninsula, Snæfellsnes and the capital area were advised to close their windows overnight.

The highest risk is near the eruption site. “It means that if you are on the wrong side of the eruption, and the plume of gas drifts close to you and envelops the area, the conditions can be life-threatening.”

The eruption site was evacuated after its closure was announced. 116 members of the Icelandic Search and Rescue (SAR) team were present at the site around midnight.

Situation continuously updated

As of 14:00 on July 11, it has been stated that the power and intensity of the eruption has decreased significantly. The area remains closed to the public until further notice.

Residents continue to receive SMS alerts from Civil Protection authorities with the following text: “Due to life-threatening toxic gas the police have closed the area around the eruption until further notice.”

UPDATED: The authorities have now opened access to the eruption site.

Intense lava flows are currently burning near the volcanic eruption, as the lava continues to stream forward. There is also significant heat within the earth itself.

It doesn’t take much for the wind direction to change, which can quickly alter the conditions. People need to be well-prepared to be in the area.

Watch our report from the volcano site below:

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