Yesterday, the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland witnessed its fourth volcanic eruption in three years, marking another significant geological event in the region. The eruption occurred between Sýlingarfell and Hagafell, just north of the fishing town Grindavik.
For weeks, the country had been anticipating an eruption on the peninsula southwest of the capital after intense earthquake activity, which prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of people and close the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
The eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula began at around 10 p.m. local time, following an earthquake around an hour earlier, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a statement.
In a statement Tuesday, Iceland’s government said the fissure opening is almost 4 kilometres long. It is the fourth eruption in the area since 2021 and the largest so far, the statement added.
While the eruption is not expected to impact populated areas or critical infrastructure in the coming days and is no longer expected to reach Grindavík, it is releasing “considerable” toxic gases, said the Icelandic Tourist Board on Tuesday.
At the moment, authorities closely monitor the situation, and scientists are on site to assess the volcanic activity’s intensity and potential impact. There have been no immediate reports of injuries or significant damage, but residents and visitors are advised to stay informed and follow safety guidelines issued by the authorities.
Our priorities remain to protect lives and infrastructure, the President of Iceland said. Civil Defence has closed off the affected area. We now wait to see what the forces of nature have in store. We are prepared and remain vigilant.
There are currently no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland, and international flight corridors remain open, the government said.
It added that the eruption is classified as a fissure eruption, which does not usually result in large explosions or significant production of ash dispersed into the stratosphere.