From Iceland — UPDATES: Lava Reaches Grindavík, Claims First Homes

UPDATES: Lava Reaches Grindavík, Claims First Homes

Published January 14, 2024

Photo by

UPDATE: 15:55

Met office geophysicist Benedikt Ófeigsson reports that land deformations and seismic activity around and inside Grindavík appear to have settled. It remains too early to make predictions about the longevity of the eruption, however.

UPDATE: 15:45

Dozens of sheep and several family pets are believed to be trapped in Grindavík, RÚV reports. The Animal Protection Association of Iceland is calling on search and rescue teams to remove them from the town, if possible. All animals had been evacuated from Grindavík in the days following the Nov. 10, 2023, evacuation of the town, however some residents had decided in recent weeks to bring animals back into town.

UPDATE: 14:50

Those watching the livestream of the eruption just saw a home burst into flame as the lava made contact with it. The newly built single family home on Efrahóp is the first casualty of the eruption. Several other homes are nearby and in the path of the lava flow.

Screenshot: RÚV

UPDATE: 14:30

The initial fissure that began erupting at 07:57 this morning is estimated to be 900 to 1,000 metres in length, and is situated just 450 metres from the nearest building in Grindavík. Lava has now flowed over Grindavíkurvegur and is running along the protective walls erected in the area.

A second fissure began eruption around 12:30 this afternoon, just outside the town limits. Lava from that fissure is moving rapidly toward houses in the Hópsshverhi neighbourhood. The Icelandic Meteorological Office reports that the land deformations being measured indicate other cracks inside Grindavík have changed as a result of the eruptions. It cannot be ruled out that more fissures will open up.

The livestream camera set up on Mount Þorbjörn shows the proximity of the second fissure to the town:

The Met Office reports that gas pollution from the eruption is currently migrating to the south and southwest, so there is no threat of poor air quality for inhabited areas at the moment.

UPDATE: 09:30

The lava flow is reportedly 450 metres away from the northernmost homes in Grindavík.

The lava intrusion is believed to run beneath the town.


After a series of small earthquakes, an eruption began in the Reykjanes peninsula at 08:00 Sunday morning.

The Department of Civil Protection has declared an emergency/distress phase for the area. The public is asked to stay home and observe the eruption via the live webcams in the area.

According to information gathered by experts who flew over the scene in the coast guard helicopter, the fissure is erupting on both sides of the protective walls recently built to protect Grindavík from potential lava flow. Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson told the national broadcaster RÚV, “This is perhaps one of the worst places we can have an eruption and puts Grindavík in danger if the eruption continues.”

Þorvaldur observed that this eruption has started smaller than that which began on Dec. 18 at Sundhnúkagígar.

The town of Grindavík was again evacuated Saturday evening amid safety concerns over the stability of cracks and crevasses created by the strong earthquake swarm on Nov. 10, 2023 that saw the town’s 3,700 residents first evacuated. A search had been ongoing for a man, since identified as Lúðvík Pétursson, who fell into a crevasse on Wednesday morning while doing repair work in the town. An extensive search yielded no sign of him.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!