From Iceland — Blue Lagoon Closes Amid Earthquakes, Eruption Concerns

Blue Lagoon Closes Amid Earthquakes, Eruption Concerns

Published November 9, 2023

The Blue Lagoon announced Thursday morning it was closing for one week amid rising concerns over the seismic activity in the area and measured accumulation of magma underground in the region. The popular tourist destination will remain closed until Nov. 16.

In a statement, the Blue Lagoon wrote “Disturbance of the guests’ experience at night and prolonged increased stress on employees” are the main reasons for the closure.

More than 700 earthquakes have struck the area since midnight Thursday, with 18 of those magnitude 3,0 or higher. A magnitude 5,0 quake was the strongest of the series, occurring around 00:45 Thursday morning.

National broadcaster RÚV has a livestream of the area here.

Criticised for staying open

The Blue Lagoon has been a major topic of conversation in Iceland in recent days, with the majority of public opinion appearing to be critical of the facility’s continued operation even as GPS measurements of the area showing ground lifting and magma accumulation 4 km underground.

Major tour operator Reykjavík Excursions suspended its tours to the Blue Lagoon as of Monday, citing safety concerns. The nearby town of Grindavík has published an evacuation plan in the event of an eruption beginning in the area, and supplies have been moved into place around hot water infrastructure to attempt to protect them from potential volcanic activity.

Volcanic peninsula

The entirety of the Reykjanes peninsula, on which the Blue Lagoon and Keflavík international airport are located, is volcanically active. From west to east, the volcanic systems along the Reykjanes peninsula and into the mainland of Iceland are Reykjanes, Eldvörp-Svartstengi, Fagradalsfjall, Krýsuvík, Brennisteinsfjöll and Hengill.

The volcanic eruptions of 2021, 2022 and July 2023 occurred in the Fagradalsfjall system. The current seismic activity and magma accumulation is happening in the Eldvörp-Svartstengi system.

The Reykjanes Fires — a period of volcanic activity that lasted from the year 950 to 1240 — saw chains of eruptions occurring in the Reykjanes and Eldvörp-Svartstengi systems.



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