From Iceland — Recent Eruption Possibly Dying Out

Recent Eruption Possibly Dying Out

Published December 20, 2023

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Starting on the evening of December 18, the recent eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula has shown signs of decreasing intensity. In conversation with RÚV, volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson claimed it is only a matter of days until the eruption dies out. However, Þorvaldur stressed that the likeliness of future eruptions in the area is high.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, while it erupts at Sundhnúkagígar, there are increased odds of more fissures opening in the current eruption.

After weeks of anticipation, an eruption broke out on the evening of December 18, resulting in a 4 km long fissure between mountains Sýlingarfell and Hagafell on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

An update on the situation

As it stands, the inhabitants of Grindavík are safe, along with the first responder teams monitoring the area. All routes to the town are closed, as magma may engulf the road to Grindavík.

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared an Emergency/Distress phase in response to the eruption. Authorities have asked the public not to venture out to the eruption. All roads to Grindavík are closed.

While a considerable amount of sulphur dioxide was measured in Reykjanesbær on the morning of December 20, favourable winds have increased the area’s air quality. Air pollution might reach the capital area for a brief moment on the morning of December 20, with gases reaching Selfoss and Vestmannaeyjar later in the day. A 48-hour gas forecast is accessible here.

Reykjavík Grapevine publisher Jón Trausti Sigurðarson and videographer Art Bicnick travelled to the eruption site. Watch the video here:

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