From Iceland — An Eruption Has Begun North of Grindavík

An Eruption Has Begun North of Grindavík

Published May 29, 2024

Photo by
Ragnar Visage/RÚV

An eruption began between Stóra Skógfell and Sýlingarfell at 12:45 this afternoon, sending a curtain of lava spewing 50 metres into the air. The fissure eruption is roughly one kilometre long and is visible from Reykjanesbraut, the main road between the capital area and the international airport in Keflavík.

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared an Emergency/Distress Phase for the region. It should go without saying at this point that you should not travel to see the volcano at this time. Heed the warnings of local authorities and give them space and time to assess the safety of the situation.

Intense seismic activity signalling possible movement of magma underground had been detected prior to the eruption beginning, spurring the re-evacuation of Grindavík. Though the town on the south coast of the Reykjanes peninsula was evacuated in November, 2023, roughly a dozen residents had returned to the town in recent months to tend to their property and farm animals.

The Svartsengi power plant and the Blue Lagoon were also evacuated prior to the eruption. RÚV reports that 700 to 800 guests and members of staff were located the Blue Lagoon.

This is the fifth eruption to begin in the area since December 2023. The last eruption  that began March 16 between Hagafell and Stóra Skógfell was declared over on May 10. Having erupted for 54 days, that eruption was the longest-running of those being fed by the magma reservoir beneath Svartsengi. Other eruptions in the same system lasted mere hours to a few days.

Watch the national broadcaster’s live stream of the eruption here:

Follow the Grapevine’s ongoing volcano coverage.

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