From Iceland — Activity Slowed But Eruption Not Over

Activity Slowed But Eruption Not Over

Published January 15, 2024

Photo by
Axel Sigurðarson /

Though lava flow from the main fissure that opened just before 8:00 Sunday morning has slowed and flow from the smaller southern fissure appears to have ceased, the Icelandic Meteorological Office maintains that the eruption is not over.

GPS measurements show that land rise continues under Svartsengi, indicating the magma chamber there is filling back up — this is different than the way the land was behaving following the December 18, 2023, eruption at Sundhnúkagígar. Experts are evaluating the data and measurements to determine what that could mean for the immediate future.

The Met Office also says it is clear that the magma tunnel stretches beneath Grindavík.

Three houses were destroyed by encroaching lava that flowed into the town from the southern fissure on Sunday. Lava from the northern fissure also flowed over Grindavíkurvegur and the hot water pipes running from Svartsengi Power Plant into Grindavík. Crews are now working to restore hot water access to the town to avoid further damage to infrastructure.

Talks To Extend Temporary Aid Measures For Grindavík Residents

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said in a cabinet meeting Monday morning that discussions are underway about extending the temporary support for Grindavík residents that was put in place after the Nov. 10, 2023, evacuation of the town. A bill will be tabled in Alþingi next week outlining the government’s plans to support business owners in Grindavík and residents.

Katrín told the national broadcaster RÚV that while the government continues to work to protect the town — for example with the erection of protective walls that succeeded in diverting lava on Sunday — residents of Grindavík will have to consider their long-term futures and make decisions for themselves as well.

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