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The Eruption near Grindavík

Date 08 February 2024

The Eruption near Grindavík

The Eruption near Grindavík

[Updated 02/11/2024] On Monday, December 18, 2023 at 10:17PM local time exactly, a massive volcanic eruption occured near Grindavík after several weeks of geological tension. Iceland is currently experiencing its fourth eruptive event on the Reykjanes peninsula since 2021.

Fortunately, the fissure opened up in a completely uninhabited area several kilometers from the small town of Grindavík and the famous Blue Lagoon.

The first signs of eruption after weeks of tension

Grindavik

Grindavik in November 2023 following the earthquakes - Credit ruv.is

After an eventful six weeks marked by thousands of earthquakes and significant ground movements in Grindavík, the town was evacuated as per procedure. The Blue Lagoon is therefore closed and will reopen on December 17 when residents can return to their homes.

During the main event, a 4-kilometer-long fault opened up 1 km east of the Blue Lagoon and 2 km north of Grindavík. While far enough from these inhabited zones, the eruption caused plumes of lava to fountain up to 150 meters in the air and emitted substantially larger lava volumes than previous eruptions of its kind, so the safe option was to evacuate.

The December 2023 Eruption, January and February 2024

Eruption

The 2023 eruption hit the Sundhnúkagígar region in a big way and has grown to outclass the recent eruptions in the Reykjanes Peninsula in terms of scale. However, experts suggest that as a result it may not last long.

The fault is already beginning to contract to form a series of craters as the lava cools. At present, the lava flow was measured at 100 cubic meters per second which means it still qualifies as a major eruption.

Crucially, however, the event poses no threat to local populations since the evacuation.

As of December 21st at 2:30PM there is no eruptive activity visible on the Reykjanes Peninsula, suggesting that the eruption is reaching its natural conclusion. Aerial observations confirmed no new activity, with all craters appearing dormant though embers remain visible in the lava bed.

New eruption closer to Grindavík on 01/14/2024

Eruption

The eruption of January 2014 - Photo credit: almannavarnir.is

Shortly after 8 a.m. on Sunday 14/01/2024, a new eruption began north of Grindavík, this time very close to the town. In the middle of the night, residents were awakened by the siren to warn them of an imminent evacuation following an increase in earthquakes. The Blue Lagoon hotel was also evacuated.

The crack grew rapidly, and the lava flow was already impressive just 1 hour after the start of the eruption at 9 a.m. The eruption is located near the Sundhnúk crater, very close to the city, only 450 meters away.

  • Watch the eruption live in video : 

 

Eruption Map

The eruption is located south of the previous one

A 10 a.m., fissure was around one kilometre in length.

Unfortunately, at the very beginning of the afternoon, a small crack opened near the first houses of the village of Grindavik and three houses unfortunately burned.

Eruption near houses

On 01/16, even if it is a little early to announce the end of the eruption, it seems that the two fissures are no longer producing lava. The eruption that began on 01/14 has in any case decreased in intensity very significantly.

New eruption near the Blue Lagoon on 02/08/2024

Eruption Blue Lagoon

The impressive eruption near the Blue Lagoon on 02/08/2024 - Photo credit ruv.is

On 02/08/2024, just before 8 a.m., a new rift opened north of Grindavik and east of the Blue Lagoon. The rift is approximately 3 km long. The images of the lava on the road near the Blue Lagoon are impressive, and the Blue Lagoon was obviously closed and evacuated early in the morning before the eruption began.

At the end of the afternoon, the power of the eruption seems to have already diminished significantly and on 02/10/2024, it seems there is no longer any activity detetected.

Information for Travelers

Eruption

  • Flights are scheduled as usual as the airport is situated at a considerable distance from the eruption.
  • The initial eruption fissure was about three kilometers long.
  • A fissure opened at 8 a.m. on 02/08/2024 east of Blue Lagoon
  • The eruption site is strictly prohibited so keep your distance.
  • Since 02/10/2024, the eruption seems to have stopped
  • All roads leading to the eruption site are closed.
  • The Blue Lagoon is temporarily closed.

The best view of the eruption

Eruption

The December 2023 eruption - Credit vedur.is

Unlike previous eruptions, the actual site is forbidden to visitors this time. Road 41 between Reykjavík and Keflavík is not recommended, but if you must drive there, keep in mind that it is prohibited to stop along the road as the lava is still highly unpredictable. If you are in the area, it is crucial you ensure emergency vehicles have a clear passage.

For a unique perspective, consider booking a helicopter excursion to fly over the eruption in total safety: