Seismic activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula

Update: No Volcanic activity has been detected since 16th of January

A volcanic eruption started on Sunday, January 14, near Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The town had previously been evacuated, and people were not in danger. No volcanic activity has been visible since one o'clock on January 16. Updated 19th of January

Key points:

  • There is a volcanic eruption near the town Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. No activity is visible today.
  • The eruption's effects are confined to the town and the immediate area surrounding the eruption site. All services in Iceland are operating normally
  • There is no disruption to air traffic and flights to and from Iceland are operating on schedule,
  • Authorities request people stay away from the area and do not attempt to walk to the eruption site. All roads to the area are closed.

Since October 24, 2023, the Icelandic Meteorological Office have been closely monitoring increased seismic activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula, deemed a potential precursor to a volcanic eruption in the area. This development resulted in a short eruption that lasted from December 18-21, 2023, near the town of Grindavík. Volcanic activity returned on Sunday, January 14, when two new fissure eruptions started in area. Authorities had evacuated all the residents from the town earlier.

Preliminary reports indicate that the lava flows have a lower volume compared to the eruption in December 2023. This event is highly localized, and the effects of the eruption are contained to the immediate area surrounding the eruption site. Iceland generally remains unaffected, and daily life outside of Grindavík proceeds as normal.

There is no disruption to air traffic and all flights to and from Iceland are operating normally. Typically, the impact of volcanic eruptions is confined to a specific, localized area near the eruption. Notably, previous eruptions in the area did not impact flights to and from the country.

The area has been evacuated and is closed. Authorities request that people do not attempt to walk to the eruption site. Many crevasses have formed in the area, along with unseen hazards and search and rescue teams are occupied.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office, The National Police Commissioner, The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, and a team of scientists from the University of Iceland are closely monitoring this situation and are constantly analyzing developments based on the best scientific data available.

Iceland is situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates diverge, making it one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Regular seismic events, ranging from minor tremors to significant earthquakes, are a characteristic feature of Iceland's geology. Seismic activity in Iceland is often due to magma movement beneath the earth's crust and tectonic plate movements. These geological actions sometimes result in magma seeking the easiest path to the surface and thereby becoming a volcanic eruption.

Iceland is no stranger to volcanic activity. Four eruptions have occurred on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the last three years. Icelandic authorities and the public are highly prepared for such events, and Iceland has some of the world's most effective volcanic preparedness measures. Iceland's geoscientists possess vast experience in dealing with volcanic activities.

You may read some additional information about volcanic activity in Iceland by clicking here

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