The Complete Guide to the 2023 Sundhnukagigar Volcanic Eruption

The Complete Guide to the 2023 Sundhnukagigar Volcanic Eruption

Arnar Tómas

The Leadup to the Eruption by Grindavik

The 2023 eruption by grindavik.

A picture taken from a helicopter just after the eruption began.

On December 18th, 2023, the ground in the Reykjanes peninsula began rumbling once more. At 10:17 PM local time, the night sky near the town of Grindavik lit up as the magma that had been circulating below ground for weeks found its way to the surface by the Sundhnukagigar crater volcano . Iceland was experiencing yet another eruption, the fourth in three years. It would then be followed by a fifth eruption in January 2024, this time at Hagafell , even closer to Grindavik, and a sixth eruption that would again take place by Sundhnukagigar in February 2024.

This fourth eruption, while powerful at first, quickly petered out. While scientists were concerned that new fissures might suddenly open, the volcanic activity lessened steadily until, on December 21st, the eruption was declared officially over.

If you want to see the aftermath of the eruption, as well as the aftermath of the eruptions in previous years, check out the available volcano tours . The best way to see the scope of the eruptions is with a birdseye view on a helicopter tour of the eruption area .

  • Learn about the 2024 eruption:  Guide to the 2024 Hagafell Volcanic Eruption Near Grindavik
  • For more: The Complete Guide to the 2023 Eruption by Litli-Hrutur Volcano  
  • See also:  The Complete Guide to the 2021 Volcanic Eruption by Fagradalsfjall Volcano  and the  2022 Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption

Just as before the eruptions in Fagradalsfjall in 2021 and 2022 and Litli-Hrutur in 2023, the Reykjanes region had been experiencing an increase in earthquake activity for weeks before but had since quieted down. The seismic activity was caused by a stream of magma flowing beneath the surface, but unlike eruptions in previous years, this one caused real concerns for inhabitants in the area.

  • Read more: Volcanic Eruptions in Iceland: A History of Fire

Weeks before the eruption, the inhabitants of Grindavik were forced to evacuate the town as magma was discovered flowing only a few hundred feet below the surface of the town. All inhabitants and animals were safely evacuated, and over the next weeks, many valuables were salvaged from homes. Even though the eruption hadn't started, the seismic activity caused a great deal of damage to the town as cracks formed in the earth, as can be seen in the video above.

The last eruption in Reykjanes was in by Litli-Hrutur.

The 2023 eruption by Litli-Hrutur

The possibility of an eruption also caused concern for nearby infrastructure. The Svartsengi Power Plant , which provides both power and heat to the entire region, was under threat, as well as Iceland's largest tourist attraction, the Blue Lagoon , which had been closed down as well. Authorities took preventative measures to create defenses for Svartsengi (and, by extension, the Blue Lagoon) by erecting mounds of earth against possible eruption sites to serve as a wall against the flowing lava.

The eruption seems to be a best case scenario.

Thankfully, the eruption turned out to be what experts call a "best-case scenario," as the lava flowed away from the town, the Svartsengi power station, and the Blue Lagoon. Scientists closely monitored the situation to see if the fissure extended further south or if new fissures might open up, but thankfully, the eruption ended, and the people of Grindavik could breathe a sigh of relief.

The eruption is a sight to behold

The Sundhnukagigar eruption in 2024 began on February 8th and lasted until February 10th. While it was further away from Grindavik than the Hagafell eruption, it did manage to damage infrastructure before dying down.

Will Sundhnukagigar erupt again? It's impossible to say, but the Reykjanes peninsula has been very active in recent years, so the Icelandic people and geologists everywhere will be keeping a close eye on the region!

That's it about the relatively short eruption of Sundhnukagigar! Let us know in the comments below if you have questions, and we will do our best to answer them!

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Iceland Volcano Eruption FAQ: What Travelers Need to Know

Dawit Habtemariam

Dawit Habtemariam , Skift

December 19th, 2023 at 1:26 PM EST

Iceland is safe and the volcano's impact has been minimal.

Dawit Habtemariam

A volcano erupted in southwest Iceland on Monday. Despite the eruption, only the Blue Lagoon spa, Grindavik and areas close the volcano are off limits to the public.

“The volcano right now, at least in its current state, is posing no danger,” said Kristijan Svajnzger, operations manager for Eastern Europe at Intrepid Travel .

What’s the status of the volcano’s eruption? 

The eruption began on Monday, December 18 at 10:17 p.m. ET, on the Reykjanes peninsula northeast of the town of Grindavik.  

This is the fourth eruption since 2021 in the area, and the largest so far with an initial fissure opening of 4km, according to Iceland’s government .

The size of the eruption has been diminishing since Monday evening and the lava flow is estimated to be about one-quarter of what it was when the eruption started, according to t he Icelandic Meteorological Office .

Is Iceland safe for travel? Is the volcano a risk for travelers in Iceland?

Flights are operating through Keflavik International Airport on schedule.

Major carriers have not cancelled their flights into Keflavik. “At this time, the eruption does not affect our operations or Keflavík airport. Our flight schedule remains unchanged,” said a note on Icelandair’s website .

The eruption does not pose an immediate threat to visitors. Only Grindavik has been evacuated. No additional evacuations have been made, according to Visit Reykjanes .

The eruption is not expected to impact additional populated areas, according to Iceland’s government. Reykjavik and other cities remain unaffected.

The U.S. State Department has not changed its travel advisory for Iceland. It’s a Level 1 advisory, the safest level for a country.

Tour operators Jacada Travel, G Adventures , Intrepid Travel and Road Scholar have not canceled upcoming or ongoing trips to Iceland.

“We are still booking and operating trips to Iceland,” said Jacada Travel Founder Alex Malcom. “Airports remain open and the country as a whole is extremely experienced at dealing with volcanoes in a safe way.”

Which tourist attractions in Iceland are closed?

Only Blue Lagoon is closed. The geothermal spa will be closed through December 27 . The Golden Circle, the South Coast and the Northern Lights are open to tourists.

Intrepid Travel, Jacada Travel and Road Scholar have replaced Blue Lagoon in their itineraries with other spas like Sky Lagoon Iceland . 

‘We have already updated the itineraries and moved from Blue Lagoon to Sky Lagoon,” said Meghan Flynn, association vice president of program strategy for Road Scholar.

G Adventures has offered refunds to clients who included Blue Lagoon in their itineraries, said Yves Marceau, vice president of product.

Can travelers see the eruption?

No. All roads to Grindavik are closed. The entire area around Blue Lagoon has been closed. Authorities have blocked access to the eruption area.

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Iceland’s 2023 Volcanic Eruption – What You Need to Know

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Iceland's 2023 VOLCANIC ERUPTION - All Things Iceland

Some of you might have heard that we had another volcanic eruption that started last week. Well, to be fair it is a continuation of eruptions that have been happening the last couple of years on the Reykjanes Peninsula. We’ve now experienced three volcanic eruptions three years in a row. All of them are being labeled as “tourist” eruptions because they can be visited, and they pose no harm to important infrastructure or towns.

I plan to share a brief update about the eruption and what we know so far. If other significant changes happen, I will for sure publish more information.

How This Volcanic Eruption is like the Ones in 2021 & 2022

Similar to the other eruptions in 2021 and 2022, we experienced many earthquakes before any lava was seen. There were somewhere around 10,000 earthquakes reported and the largest of those was on Sunday, July 9 th , which was classified as an M5.2. It was felt across the country, which is incredible. I distinctly remember feeling it. I jumped out of bed and said “the eruption is coming!”

Well, the eruption started on July 10 th at 4:40 PM not far from the previous ones in the last couple of years. It’s a fissure eruption and scientist have stated that these types of eruptions are normally most powerful at the beginning and then taper off before ending. However, no one knows how long this one will last.

Maybe it is just getting started or maybe it is soon to finish. I know many people hope for the first option, but I like to manage expectations. They are saying this eruption is much stronger than the other two so that is giving some people a glimmer of hope that it will continue for quite some time.

visit volcano eruption iceland 2023

How to Visit The Latest Volcanic Eruption

One fascinating thing about the location of this eruption is that it is in a flatter area. Granted, there is a lot of lava rock, moss, and rugged terrain but you don’t have to hike up steep inclines to get there. The catch though is that you do have to walk quite far.

Currently, it is a 20 km or 12.4 mile hike round trip from the designated parking lot to the volcano site. That does not include time at the site watching the eruption. You can expect to take between 3 to 4 hours roundtrip to walk there. You might be there an additional hour, or more, depending on how long you want to be there. Needless to say, it would be a long day of exploring. There are 4×4 roads in this area but only authorized vehicles are allowed to drive there now because of safety reasons.

Dangerous Wildfires Caused by the Volcanic Eruption

It’s interesting to me that the amazing weather we’ve been having lately has played a role in the volcano site being potentially dangerous for visitors. We’ve had bright, sunny days with relatively warm temperatures for over a week and a half (sort of unheard of in Iceland), and due to that the moss near the eruption is very dry.

Authorities have been working around the clock to put out wildfires from the moss catching fire due to the hot lava. Unfavorable wind conditions resulted in heinous gases being pushed in the direction of the walking path and all the way to the parking lot.

People were inhaling the gases and not feeling well. Bringing a gas mask is a great idea but just know that it is best to go on a day where the wind is pushing the pollution away from you.

Due to the wildfires and people at the volcano site acting foolish by getting too close to molten hot lava, authorities closed the site for 4-days until the conditions were better. So, from July 13 th until the 17 th (which is the same day I am recording this episode) access to the volcano site was prohibited.

Alternative Ways to See the Volanic Eruption in Iceland

Volcano Heli Helicopter tour - All Things Iceland

I did not go straight to the volcano when it erupted because I wanted to see what authorities had to say about the conditions. Also, it takes around 4 hours of walking to get there, and I’ve had other projects that I needed to work on. I still am not sure when I will walk there because of other obligations.

However, I did take a helicopter flight over the eruption today and it was phenomenal! If you are planning to walk to the volcano, please check safetravel.is before going to make sure the conditions are favorable for going. Do not step on any lava, even if the lava looks like it is completely solid. Also, make sure to pack layers, fluids, and food since it is quite a long trek.

For those with limited time, limited mobility, or just want to see the volcano from a different angle, I highly recommend a helicopter tour. I partnered with Volcano Heli for this 30 -40 minutes adventure and it blew my mind. The eruption is stunning from above.

I know helicopter tours have been selling out, so if you are interested in that option, I recommend booking in advance. The fun thing is that you get to see amazing views of Reykjavík and the Reykjanes Peninsula as you are checking out the volcanic eruption. I was estactic after getting off the flght would love to do another one.

Some airlines like Icelandair and Play Air are flying near the volcano so their passengers can see the eruption, which is quite nice.

Is Iceland's Volcanic Eruption Impacting Flights or Infrastructure?

This brings me to my last point before doing the random fact of the episode. There is no forecasted impact of the eruption on flights or nearby towns.

Well, maybe the gas pollution but not there is no fear of the lava flowing into a nearby town or over paved roads. Unlike some other eruptions in Iceland that have created lots of ash in the past, that is not a concern here.

Random Fact of the Episode

I correctly predicted the date of the eruption on Threads three days before it happened.

Icelandic Word of the Episode

Litli Hrútur is the name of the current volcanic eruption

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Litli Hrútur eruption 2023

Iceland Volcano Eruption Near Litli Hrútur 2023

On July 10 2023, an eruption began in the afternoon within the Fagradalsfjall volcanic system, with a 900-metre-long fissure opening up. Just 11 months after the last eruption, the new fissure sparked excitement from locals and tourists alike.

It was the third eruption in three years, followed by thousands of earthquakes over a period of several days. Magma broke through the surface, shooting fountains of lava tens of metres into the air. The eruption site was named Litli-Hrútur (Little Ram), and it ceased erupting on August 5th 2023.

Where is Litli-Hrútur Located?

The eruption site sits on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 30 kilometres southwest of Reykjavík. The fissure was not underneath a glacier, so no ash cloud disturbed air traffic.

How to Get to Litli-Hrútur

Smoke around eruption site

As news broke about the latest eruption, people began asking how they could get a glimpse. It was no easy feat. It is important to note that the Reykjanes region can be closed due to safety reasons. We recommend always checking www.safetravel.is before heading out to explore.

The shortest hiking route to the eruption site was a 20 km round trip over rugged terrain. For most people, the hike took around 6-8 hours, plus the time spent at the eruption site. There was no public transportation to the site, so visitors had to drive to the parking area.

There were two paid parking lots (P1 & P2), and the fee was 1,000 ISK and was valid for 24 hours. Fees were paid electronically with detailed instructions at the lots.

charged mobile phone.

Was Litli-Hrútur Safe to Visit?

Eruption site

There were several factors to consider before visiting an erupting volcano; however, there was no danger since the volcano stopped erupting on 5 August. When a volcano erupts, visibility can be low, and dangerous gas levels can shift quickly and be harmful.

Always make sure you check www.safetravel.is for the latest updates on safety conditions. And the authorities can close access to hiking trails if gas levels reach a dangerous level or if weather conditions are poor.

Previous Eruptions at Fagradalsfjall

Eruption at Fagradalsfjall

There hadn’t been a volcanic eruption for 815 years on the Reykjanes Peninsula until March 19th 2021. The area awakened when a fissure vent appeared in Geldingadalir (Castrated Sheep Valleys) in the southeastern slopes of Fagradalsfjall Mountain.

The 2021 eruption emitted fresh lava until September 18th 2021. Another eruption began in Meradalir (Mare Valleys), little north of the first one, on August 3rd 2022 and ended on August 21st 2022, similar to the 2021 eruption. A third eruption appeared to the north of Fagradalsfjall near Litli-Hrútur hill on July 10th 2023 and ended on August 5th, 2023. The lavas from these three eruptions partly overlap each other.

After hundreds of years of calmness, the Reykjanes Peninsula awakened in 2021 and continues to quake and spew lava.

Experience the Geldingadalir Eruption in Reykjavík

Litli Hrutur eruption behind Perlan

In the heart of Reykjavík, Perlan’s Forces of Nature exhibition allows guests to feel the immense power of volcanoes, earthquakes, and geothermal energy that powers the island. Relive the historic Geldingadalir eruption of 2021, the first in the area in over 800 years, at Perlan's mesmerizing Volcano Show.

The Forces of Nature exhibition is the perfect place to stop before heading out for the hike of a lifetime. It will help to really understand the intricacies of Iceland’s raw and powerful nature.

The Volcano Show is a thrilling, visceral experience that brings you closer to the raw power of nature in eruption without leaving the city. Iceland’s unpredictable weather and the Reykjanes region conditions can change at a moment’s notice, making the show an ideal place to visit while in Iceland.

Perlan is a unique, family-friendly museum experience that entertains and informs. Perlan is also home to exhibitions featuring ice caves and northern lights.

Is the Icelandic volcano Litli-Hrútur still erupting?

No, the volcano stopped erupting August 5, 2023.

Is the area around Litli-Hrútur safe to visit?

Litli Hrútur is in the Reykjanes area, which is a volcanic hotspot. Always check www.safetravel.is before heading to the location.

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Volcano erupts

Iceland volcano eruption: will it spark a flight crisis and how long will it last?

As a 2.5-mile fissure opens up in the Earth’s crust spewing jets of lava, we look at the local and international implications

  • Iceland volcano – live updates

At 10.17pm local time (22.17 GMT) on Monday, a volcanic eruption began north of Grindavík on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland . It came after weeks of intense earthquake activity and has been described as “amongst the most spectacular ever seen”.

So what has caused it, and what happens next?

What has happened and why?

A 2.5-mile (4km) crack in the Earth’s surface has opened up, spewing glowing orange jets of lava surrounded by billowing clouds of red smoke.

In an overnight update, the Icelandic Met Office said the eruptive fissure was about 4km long and the distance from the southern end to the edge of Grindavík was almost 3km.

At one point, between 100 and 200 cubic metres (3,530 and 7,060 cubic ft) of lava was emerging per second.

The eruption had been expected for some time. The Reykjanes peninsula was hit by a so-called seismic swarm in late October and November, with hundreds of earthquakes happening every day for a period. Bulges in the land appeared as magma moved up into the Earth’s crust.

Situated in the North Atlantic, Iceland straddles the mid-Atlantic ridge that separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. These huge slabs of rock are moving apart at a rate of a couple of centimetres a year , resulting in seismic and volcanic activity.

Are people in danger?

For weeks, the inhabitants of Grindavík, a fishing town with a population of 4,000 people located about 25 miles (40km) south-west of Iceland’s capital, had feared their homes would be hit by any eruption when it came. Their worries appeared to have been allayed on Tuesday when it seemed that the town, which was evacuated in November, was not going to be hit by the lava flow.

Iceland’s government said in a statement on Tuesday that the eruption did not present a threat to life. The country’s infrastructure minister, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, told the broadcaster RÚV that “we seem to have been quite lucky with the location and development [of the eruption], and we hope that will continue”.

Residents of Grindavík appear to have had an incredibly narrow escape. Police suggested on Monday that there could be a possibility of their being permitted to return home without restrictions for Christmas.

For visitors to Iceland, safety must be paramount, said Matthew Watson, professor of volcanoes and climate at the University of Bristol. He added that although there would be a “strong pull” to witness the eruption, people must take care.

“This style of eruption is amongst the most spectacular ever seen and there will be a strong pull for tourists, even though the Blue Lagoon [geothermal spa] complex has again shut. Tourists should strictly follow official advice as there are significant hazards, such as new breakouts, which can quickly put people in harms way,” he said.

The lava flows were still only a few kilometres away from tourist spots such as the Blue Lagoon “and there is still concern of lavas reaching these key locations”, added Sam Mitchell, a research associate in volcanology, also at the University of Bristol.

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Is this going to spark another global flight crisis?

In 2010, an ash cloud created by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused flight cancellations and travel chaos around the world.

Experts do not believe the latest volcanic eruption will have the same impact because it is unlikely to produce as much ash. “There is currently no threat to the airspace from this eruption, especially to flights further than Iceland,” said Mitchell.

“Any changes to air traffic may be restrained to Keflavík [the country’s largest airport] if there are changes in wind direction or outputs of gas and fine ash.

“This is a very different eruption to that of Eyjafjallajökull … where a large explosive eruption under a glacier produced a very large cloud and very fine ash in the atmosphere when the wind direction was pointing towards mainland Europe .”

The Icelandic government said: “There are no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open.”

How long could this last?

We just don’t know. “It is very difficult to say how long these eruptions will last; it could be days, it could be months,” said Mitchell.

“Larger more intense eruptions tend to last a shorter time, but if the flow rate becomes small it could go on for some time,” he added.

Officials are taking a wait-and-see approach. Iceland’s president, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, said: “We now wait to see what the forces of nature have in store.”

“We are prepared,” he said, “and remain vigilant.”

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Volcano in Iceland: July 2023 Eruption at Litli-Hrútur | All you need to know

Do you want to see and active volcano in Iceland? Following a restful period of 11 months, the Fagradalsfjall Volcano system has reawakened. It is essential to note that the eruption site is not a safe area. It is crucial to remain cautious as new fissures and craters may unexpectedly emerge at any location without prior warning.

Litli Hrútur Eruption in July 2023

Iceland Travel Guide, in collaboration with SafeTravel.is, is diligently working on creating an updated webpage to address your queries regarding the recent eruption.

The sight of a volcanic eruption is truly awe-inspiring, and Iceland is currently experiencing its third eruption along the same rift zone in as many years. Witnessing the mesmerizing flow of molten rock bursting forth from the Earth’s surface, as the land is divided by immense geological forces, is an unforgettable experience.

On Monday, July 10, at approximately 4:40 PM, magma plumes began ascending from a fissure stretching 900 meters in length, near the vicinity of Litli-Hrútur Hill. This new eruption is positioned slightly north of the previous two, aligning with scientific predictions based on meticulous surveys conducted in the area.

The eruption site is located approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Reykjavík and poses no threat to residential areas or infrastructure. Thankfully, there have been no reports of ash emissions or disruptions to international or domestic flights.

For real-time updates and an immersive experience, we invite you to explore the live stream available from RÚV, which offers a captivating glimpse of the ongoing volcanic activity.

Please remember to prioritize safety and adhere to any guidelines or warnings provided by local authorities. Keep yourself informed through the official channels and the forthcoming updated webpage, where you will find essential information to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience amidst this captivating natural phenomenon.

Visiting Litli-Hrútur Volcano Site in Iceland

Important Notice: Closure of Access to Eruption Site Until July 15

For the safety of all tourists and emergency responders, access to the eruption site is temporarily closed until July 15, as per the decision made by the police chief in Reykjanes. This precautionary measure aims to ensure the well-being of everyone involved. The situation will be reassessed on Saturday, and updates will be provided accordingly.

Great news! The Fagradalsfjall Volcano system has reawakened after an 11-month slumber. However, it’s important to remember that the eruption site is not safe. Unpredictable fissures and craters can emerge without any notice, so exercise caution and prioritize your safety.

For those seeking an extraordinary experience, the Litli Hrútur eruption site is now open for hikers (check updates regularly). The shortest hiking route is a 20 km (11 miles) round trip over rough terrain. Plan accordingly, as the hike can take approximately 6-8 hours, excluding the time spent at the site. Make sure you are well-prepared before embarking on this adventure.

Be Aware of Potential Hazards!

Near the eruption site, visibility may be limited, and dangerous gas levels can rapidly change, posing a risk to your well-being. Take these factors into account and be vigilant while exploring the area.

Prepare for a Safe and Enjoyable Visit!

To ensure a safe and memorable experience, it is recommended to be well-equipped and prepared for the hike. Stay updated with the latest safety guidelines and weather conditions. As always, prioritize your safety and follow any instructions from local authorities.

Embrace the Spectacle Safely! We understand the allure of witnessing a volcano in Iceland up close, but your safety is of utmost importance. Enjoy the awe-inspiring spectacle while staying aware of potential risks. Take this opportunity to create lasting memories, but always put safety first.

Prepare for a Safe and Enjoyable Visit

Embrace the Spectacle Safely! We understand the allure of witnessing a volcano up close, but your safety is of utmost importance. Enjoy the awe-inspiring spectacle while staying aware of potential risks. Take this opportunity to create lasting memories, but always put safety first.

For a safe and enjoyable visit to the volcano in Iceland, we strongly recommend exploring it with a certified guide. These knowledgeable guides possess expertise about the area, maintain communication with authorities, and prioritize your safety throughout the excursion. With their guidance, you can rest assured that every precaution will be taken to ensure a secure and well-managed experience.

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Volcano Helicopter Tour in Iceland

Volcano Helicopter Tour

From 55,900 isk, how to get there.

Please note that the starting point of the hike will utilize the existing parking areas from the previous eruptions. It is not practical to walk or hike from Grindavík or Reykjavík to reach the eruption site. To access the volcano, it is recommended to utilize the designated parking areas and proceed with the appropriate hiking routes.

Drive to the volcano

To visit the volcano in Iceland, the recommended modes of transportation are through a guided tour or by car. The eruption site parking lot is situated roughly an hour away from Reykjavík and around 30 minutes from Keflavík Airport. Unfortunately, public transportation to the site is not available. For convenient parking, there are two paid parking lots, namely P1 and P2. The parking fee is 1,000 ISK and covers a 24-hour period. Electronic payment is accepted at the lots, and detailed instructions will be provided. P2 parking is highly recommended for this particular hike.

From Reykjavik

To reach the marked parking lots, follow these directions: Take road 41 in the direction of Keflavík. Then, turn onto road 43 towards Grindavík. Continue along road 427 until you spot the designated parking lots, which will be clearly marked for your convenience.

From Keflavik

For those looking to embark on a captivating Reykjanes circle tour, there are two routes available, both passing through Grindavík. Taking both routes will provide an exceptional and comprehensive experience, allowing you to explore the stunning attractions of the Reykjanes Peninsula from different perspectives.

Option 1: To reach the parking area, follow these directions. Take road 41 heading towards Reykjavík, then make a right turn onto road 43 towards Grindavík. Continue along road 427 until you spot the parking signs, guiding you to the designated area.

Option 2: For an alternative coastal route, follow these directions. Take road 41 towards Reykjavík, and then make a right turn onto road 44 towards Hafnir. Continue your journey on road 425, leading towards Grindavík. Finally, follow road 427 until you come across the marked car parks, indicating the designated parking area.

Parking at the volcano

Important Notice: Parking Regulations and Safety Precautions

Please be aware that parking along road 427 and off-road driving are strictly prohibited. The parking lots provided are situated on private land. To access the parking, a fee of 1,000 ISK is required, which can be conveniently paid electronically at Parka.is or by scanning the QR code available at the lot.

Kindly note that there are no services available at the eruption site. It is advisable to pack food and drinks accordingly or consider a pit stop in Grindavík before embarking on the trail to the eruption site.

Prioritize Safety: Inform Someone of Your Plans

For your safety, it is highly recommended to inform someone of your destination and expected return. You can accomplish this by filing a travel plan with Safetravel.is. This proactive measure ensures that there is awareness of your whereabouts and enhances overall safety during your journey.

Guided tours to the active volcano in Iceland

Discover the Best of the Volcano with Guided Tours!

You can find numerous tours to the volcano, offering you a chance to make the most of your experience while ensuring your safety. Opting for a local guide is highly recommended as they possess valuable insights and expertise.

Tour options may vary, some including transportation while others provide a meeting point at the parking area if you prefer to drive yourself. This flexibility allows you to choose the tour that suits your preferences and needs. Embark on a guided tour to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of this remarkable natural phenomenon.

Find guided volcano tours that are all operated by local guides here. 

Helicopter Tours to see the active volcano in Iceland

Experience the Unforgettable: Aerial Views of an active volcano in a helicopter! 

To truly make your visit extraordinary, consider booking a scenic helicopter flight for a bird’s eye view of the volcano. Witnessing the eruption from above is an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience. To secure a seat, it is advisable to book your flight well in advance.

A helicopter tour will allow you to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the volcano and its surroundings from a unique and exhilarating perspective.

Hiking to see the active volcano in Iceland

Hiking in Iceland requires proper preparation, regardless of the time or location. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, consider the following suggestions:

Dress appropriately: Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable. Wear layered clothing, including a waterproof outer layer, and sturdy footwear suitable for various terrains. 

Carry essential gear: Bring a map, compass, and/or GPS device for navigation. Pack a first aid kit, extra food and water, a flashlight, and a whistle for emergencies.

Check the weather forecast: Prior to your hike, stay updated on the weather conditions. Be prepared for sudden changes and plan your route accordingly.

Inform someone: Let someone know your hiking plans, including your expected route, estimated duration, and when you plan to return. This ensures that someone is aware of your whereabouts.

Respect nature and wildlife: Preserve Iceland’s natural beauty by following Leave No Trace principles. Avoid disturbing wildlife and stay on designated paths to protect fragile ecosystems.

Be aware of daylight hours: Depending on the season, daylight hours can vary significantly in Iceland. Plan your hike accordingly, and be prepared for limited daylight during certain times of the year.

By heeding these suggestions and taking necessary precautions, you can fully enjoy the remarkable landscapes and trails that Iceland has to offer while prioritizing your safety.

Always be ready for cold, wet, windy, and potentially icy conditions, even if you start your hike in favorable weather.

What to pack for your hike - Gear Checklist

  • Hiking boots (preferably above ankle)
  • Waterproof shell jacket
  • Layered clothing, including gloves/mittens and a neck warmer (choose wool or fleece, avoid cotton)
  • Fully charged phone (consider bringing a power bank)
  • Headlight/flashlight with spare batteries
  • Sufficient food and water, accounting for longer durations than anticipated
  • Hot beverages like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to keep warm
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles and take all waste with you
  • Prepare for cold, wet, windy, and potentially icy conditions, even if starting the hike in good weather.

Safety at the volcano

Important Safety Information for Visiting the Eruption Site

With proper preparation and adherence to instructions, visiting the eruption can be done safely. Before your arrival, check safetravel.is for updates on the site’s accessibility, and follow the guidance provided by the authorities.

As with other areas in Iceland, the weather is a top concern. Located near the ocean, the eruption site is prone to rain, fog, and cold temperatures, which can change rapidly. Here are some vital points to remember:

Stay informed: Regularly check SafeTravel.is for detailed alerts regarding the eruption site and any other travel plans in Iceland.

Follow local authorities: Observe and comply with instructions given by local authorities and ICE-SAR members present at the site. Please note that the area may be closed on short notice for safety reasons.

Be cautious on lava: Avoid walking on both recent and cooled lava. Although it may appear cool and safe, lava can remain scorching hot beneath the surface for months or even years. It can crumble and create slippery and hazardous conditions. Falling on newly formed lava is extremely dangerous.

Expect weather changes: Weather conditions can quickly shift, so be prepared for cold, wet, windy, and icy conditions, even if your hike begins in good weather. Stay updated on the local weather forecast.

Earthquakes may occur: Be aware that the area is susceptible to further seismic activity, and additional earthquakes might take place.

By staying vigilant, following safety guidelines, and respecting the unpredictability of nature, you can enjoy your visit to the eruption site while prioritizing your well-being.

How long will the eruption last?

The duration of a volcano’s activity is highly unpredictable. However, Iceland’s geology has been extensively studied, revealing that the Reykjanes Peninsula has entered a new volcanic phase characterized by intermittent eruptions. This phase could span a significant period of 200-500 years. Historical records indicate that the peninsula was shaped by periods of intense volcanic activity followed by extended dormant periods, mirroring the current patterns observed in the region.

Live stream from the active eruption – Litli-Hrútur volcano

Volcanic Gases: Safety Precautions at the Litli-Hrútur Eruption

Authorities emphasize the utmost importance of taking extra precautions while hiking and closely monitoring the latest updates on weather conditions and volcanic gas emissions. Both the environment and the volcano can change rapidly, and hazardous conditions may prompt the closure of the area. Please exercise caution and stay informed to ensure your safety.

Photographing the volcano

Capture the Perfect Shot: Prioritize Safety and Awareness!

When seeking that perfect picture, remember to prioritize your surroundings before taking the shot. It’s important to be mindful of potential hazards, especially when it comes to the dynamic nature of lava.

While the allure of capturing the eruption from a drone’s perspective is undeniable, there are several risks to consider near the volcano. These include the presence of numerous drones in the area, low-flying manned aircraft, a high volume of visitors, and the proximity to an international airport. Additionally, the intense heat of the lava poses a risk of melting drones.

Drone operators are advised to stay informed about current regulations by monitoring the Icelandic Transport Authority and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. By being aware of the guidelines and safety measures, you can ensure a responsible and enjoyable experience while capturing stunning visuals of the eruption.

Maximum Altitude: Ensure that your drone does not exceed an altitude of 120 meters (390 feet) above the ground while flying.

Give Way to Manned Aircraft: Always prioritize the safety of manned aircraft and yield the right of way to them when operating your drone.

Visual Line of Sight: Keep your drone within your visual line of sight at all times. Avoid flying beyond your direct vision range.

Caution Near Lava: Be mindful of flying too close to lava as it can result in the melting of your drone. Maintain a safe distance to prevent damage.

Additional Requirements for Commercial Drones: If you are operating a drone for commercial purposes, please ensure to check and comply with any additional requirements that may be applicable.

By adhering to these general drone rules, you can operate your drone responsibly and safely while respecting the airspace and ensuring an enjoyable experience for all.

Good to know

Stay Prepared for Changing Weather Conditions: Regardless of the initial weather conditions, be ready for cold, wet, windy, and potentially icy conditions during your hike.

Limited Facilities Available: Please be aware that there are no restroom facilities or services along the hiking route or at the eruption site. Plan accordingly and consider making necessary arrangements beforehand.

Beware of Volcanic Gases: During volcanic eruptions, harmful gases are released. These gases can be highly poisonous. Avoid low-lying areas in the landscape and if you experience any discomfort, leave the site immediately. It’s important to note that shifting winds can cause gases to move rapidly. Keep in mind that children may be more susceptible to the effects of these gases.

Observe Driving Regulations: Driving off-road or parking in unauthorized areas is strictly prohibited. Please adhere to designated parking locations and refrain from driving off established roads. Let’s respect the natural surroundings and ensure a safe and sustainable visit for everyone.

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December 19, 2023 - Iceland volcano erupts

By Aditi Sangal , Elise Hammond , Tori B. Powell and Maureen Chowdhury , CNN

Icelandic weather agency warns there could be a short warning window if new vents open along fissure

From CNN's Elise Hammond

While scientists say the volcano erupting on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula is starting to diminish, that does not mean the risk is over.

There are currently three vents of lava pushing through a crack that is about 2 miles long, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office. It warned Tuesday that more vents could still open up “along the original fissure as well as further north or south.”

The volcano erupted about 1.8 miles away from the town of Grindavík — an area where residents were evacuated from their homes earlier this year in anticipation of the eruption. Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency previously said the magma tunnel that is forming could reach Grindavik, but it didn’t know where the magma might break through.

The IMO said there were about 90 minutes between the “first indicators and the start of the eruption” on Monday and said that any window of warning for new vents opening could be short.

Jess Phoenix, a volcanologist and geologist, echoed that sentiment of unpredictability. She told CNN that it is hard to tell what will come next. 

If the eruption continues to keep spreading south, it could put Grindavik in danger, she said. The biggest risk, however, is to property since most people have been evacuated.

“Right now most of the erupted activity is on the north end of what we saw from those images earlier – and that’s actually a good thing. That’s less populated,” Phoenix said.

“If we get more magma injected into the system, then we've got more places that it needs to go. So we hope that things stay on the calm side and hopefully peter out without actually spreading," she added.

"Gushing fountains of lava": CNN reporter describes what it's like less than a mile from the eruption

From CNN's David Shortell

Molten lava is seen exiting a fissure on the Reykjanes peninsula on Tuesday.

Authorities in southwest Iceland have set up a checkpoint about five miles away from the eruption zone — the closest point to the lava flow where members of the public have been gathering to watch.

A CNN crew was given access inside the perimeter and brought less than a mile away from the active fissures.

The event is considered a fissure eruption, meaning lava is bursting from a long crack in the earth’s core that can extend for miles. The good news, Pleitgen said, is that this type of eruption doesn’t send ash into the atmosphere, which could prove disruptive to air travel. Fissure eruptions, however, can last for a long time and can also release dangerous gases, experts say.

“We are seeing a lot of lava being spewed into the air but also lava flow happening laterally from the actual fissure, from the actual crack, where the magma from the earth’s core burst through and is now coming to the surface,” Pleitgen said.

The lava is “very thin” and “liquidy" and is emerging from a small number of places along the fissure, Pleitgen said. The area is hilly with black, volcanic earth covered in snow. Even with fires, it’s cold outside, Pleitgen said, with temperatures reaching as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Still, he said the weather changes “extremely quickly" with strong winds giving way without warning to alternating periods of rain, snow, and sun.

“The elements are very strong because we’re right in the center of the Atlantic Ocean,” Pleitgen said.

Authorities are very active inside the cordoned-off zone. The nearby town of Grindavík has been evacuated for weeks as the volcano showed signs of eruption. A fissure that emerged running through that town has no lava coming from it yet.

Still, life in the urban area is proceeding mostly normally, Pleitgen said. Keflavík Airport, the country’s largest, is a half-hour drive from the volcano. The eruption is visible to plane traffic, but operations remain normal. Most roads in and out of the area are also functioning as usual.

“People seem pretty chilled about it. They’re quite used to volcanic eruptions,” Pleitgen said.

In photos: Icelandic volcano spews lava and sends plumes of smoke into the sky

CNN Digital's Photo Team

A volcano has dramatically erupted in Iceland, expelling spectacular bursts of lava onto the landscape and emitting huge plumes of smoke after weeks of seismic activity prompted the evacuation of a nearby town.

Officials said the eruption was not posing a threat to life but warned the area was closed to all traffic and strongly urged people to stay away.

Take a look at what the scene looks like:

An active segment of the volcano near Grindavik, Iceland, is seen from above on Tuesday.

Catch up: Here's what we know so far about the volcano erupting in Iceland

From CNN staff

Lava bubbles up from a fissure of the active volcano near Grindavik, Iceland, on Tuesday.

Scientists are working to assess the situation in Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula where a volcanic eruption took place Monday night — a process that could take several days.

While the eruption does not pose a threat to life , according to the country's government, gas pollution could reach the area of the capital, Reykjavík, in the next day, reports from the weather service say. Police are asking people to stay away from the area of the eruption, warning that the gas "can be dangerous.”

The size of the eruption continued to decrease on Tuesday, but the country's meteorological office recorded more than 300 earthquakes over the magma channels since the eruption started.

Here's what we know so far:

  • When the eruption happened: The volcanic eruption started on the Reykjanes peninsula at around 10 p.m. local time Monday , following an earthquake at around 9 p.m., the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
  • Where is the fissure: The meteorological office reported that the eruption is located close to Hagafell, about 3 kilometers (about 1.8 miles) north of the town of Grindavík.  Earlier this year, residents from Grindavík and nearby settlements were evacuated. This is the fourth eruption since 2021 in the area and the largest so far with a fissure opening of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles).
  • What it looked like: At the start of the eruption, magma fountains reached "about 30 meters at their highest," which is about 98 feet, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said. While the height of the magma is lower on Tuesday, there are currently three eruption vents spread along the original fissure, it said.
  • Decreasing seismic activity: The IMO has reported a decrease in seismic activity around the eruption Tuesday. Since the start of the eruption, the service said there were at least 320 earthquakes, with the largest being a 4.1 magnitude quake on Monday. But, since after midnight, only 10 earthquakes have been recorded in the region. The size of the eruption also “continues to diminish," with the lava flow reducing to just “one-quarter” of the levels seen on Monday, the service said.
  • Impacts: The eruption is not expected to impact any populated areas or critical infrastructure in the coming days – but officials are asking people to stay away from the area because of the "considerable" toxic gases being released. Due to the weather forecast, gas pollution may reach the capital area , where Reykjavík is situated, late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, according to the IMO. The government reported that there are no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland, and international flight corridors remain open.
  • History of volcanic activity: Iceland  — which sits on a tectonic plate boundary that continually splits apart, pushing North America and Eurasia away from each other along the line of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge — is home to  32  active volcanoes. The island nation is accustomed to volcanic eruptions , though they often occur in the wilderness , away from populated areas. 

Lava flow down to "one-quarter" of Monday level — but gas pollution may hit Reykjavik, weather service says

From CNN’s Caitlin Danaher in London

This image made from video and provided by the Icelandic Coast Guard shows magma flowing on a hill near Grindavik, Iceland, late Monday night.

The size of the volcanic eruption on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula “continues to diminish,” with the lava flow reducing to just “one-quarter” of the levels seen on Monday, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said in an update Tuesday. 

Gas pollution might be noticeable on Tuesday in Vestmannaeyjar, an archipelago off Iceland’s southern coast, but other populated areas will be unaffected, the IMO added.

Due to the weather forecast, however, gas pollution may reach the capital area, where Reykjavík is situated, late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, according to the IMO. 

Magma fountains are lower than at the start of the eruption, “reaching about 30 meters at their highest,” which is about 98 feet, the IMO said. There are currently five eruption vents spread along the original volcanic fissure, but the length of the fissure remains unchanged, the met office added.  

Meanwhile, Landsnet, a power distribution agency in Iceland, has increased its alert to “emergency level,” a Landsnet spokesperson told CNN in an email.

Landsnet is “looking at possible lava flow scenarios and estimating whether further preparations to protect transmission infrastructure are necessary,” the spokesperson said.

The company is looking to build defenses around three power masts located outside the protective wall around the Svartsengi power plant, but the spokesperson told CNN that they do not foresee any power outages.

The main power line supplying the Reykjanes peninsula, called “Suðurnesjalína 1,” has not been affected by the volcanic eruption and is not in any danger, the spokesperson added.

Iceland is accustomed to volcanic eruptions

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey, Taylor Ward and Jessie Yeung

People watch lava flow during an eruption of Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano on March 21, 2021.

A volcano has erupted on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said Monday.

Iceland  — which sits on a tectonic plate boundary that continually splits apart, pushing North America and Eurasia away from each other along the line of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge — is home to  32  active volcanoes.

As such, the island nation is accustomed to volcanic eruptions, though they often occur in the wilderness, away from populated areas. The Bárðarbunga volcanic system situated in the center of the country erupted in 2014, producing lava that covered 84 square kilometers (32 square miles) of highland that didn’t damage any communities.

The Fagradalsfjall volcanic system erupted in 2021 for the first time in more than 6,000 years. It also didn’t threaten populated areas and even became a tourist attraction as people flocked to witness the eruption.

Experts don’t expect a volcanic eruption to cause the same level of chaos as that seen in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, since it is unlikely to involve the glacial ice that led to a huge ash cloud.

About 100,000 flights were canceled, affecting 2 million people, as a result of the ash spewed out by the 2010 eruption, which threatened to stall aircraft engines and cause electrical failure.

“Eyjafjallajökull involved an eruption through or next to glacial ice that melted and provided water that made the eruption more explosive than it would otherwise have been, hence the high eruption plume and very wide ash dispersal,” Lionel Wilson, emeritus professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Lancaster University, told CNN last month.

Scientists need several days to assess situation in Iceland, police say

Suðurnes police, which covers Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula where a volcanic eruption took place Monday night, said scientists need “several days to assess the situation there,” in a statement released Tuesday.

“We will reassess the situation every hour,” police said. 

All roads to Grindavík will be closed for everyone, except emergency responders and teams working with the authorities in the “danger zone” near the area, according to the statement. 

Police are asking people not to approach the area of the eruption, and to be “aware that gas emitted from it can be dangerous.”

visit volcano eruption iceland 2023

Icelandair released a statement at 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, reiterating that the volcano eruption has not impacted their flight schedule.

“At this time, the eruption does not affect our operations or Keflavík airport. Our flight schedule remains unchanged,” the statement said.

Icelandair added it is monitoring the situation closely and will inform passengers of any new developments.

“Eruptions and earthquakes are a part of our DNA, and we Icelanders are always well prepared for volcanic events. The country’s incredible nature has given us excellent training and expertise to deal with unique situations,” the statement said.

The Icelandic Tourist Board said that notably, previous eruptions in the area did not impact air travel to and from the country, in a statement on their website.

Volcanic eruption on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula releasing "considerable" toxic gases

From CNN's Mihir Melwani and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong

A view from a helicopter shows the volcano eruption on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, on December 19.

The volcanic eruption on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula is releasing "considerable" toxic gases, the Icelandic Tourist Board said in an email to CNN on Tuesday.

"Please be advised that this eruption is releasing considerable toxic gases and people are strongly advised against visiting the site of the eruption while responders and scientists assess the situation," according to the Icelandic Tourist Board.

The eruption is not expected to impact any populated areas or critical infrastructure in the coming days, the Icelandic Tourist Board said, adding no further evacuations are planned at this stage.

The lava flow is not currently expected to reach any part of the town of Grindavik or nearby infrastructure, according to the Icelandic Tourist Board.

Volcanic eruption does not pose a threat to life, Icelandic government says

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong

A police vehicle is parked at the entrance of the road to Grindavík, Iceland, on December 18.

The volcanic eruption on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula does not pose a threat to life, the country's government said in a statement Tuesday.

The eruption began at 10:17 p.m. local time northeast of the town of Grindavik on the Reykjanes peninsula, according to the government. This is the fourth eruption since 2021 in the area, and the largest so far with an fissure opening of four kilometers (2.5 miles).

The area is currently closed to all traffic, the government said, while strongly warning people not to approach the area. 

The nearby town of Grindavik was already evacuated on November 10 as a precaution after several days of seismic activity.

The government reported that there are no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland, and international flight corridors remain open.

The government said this eruption follows intense seismic activity over the past few weeks and is classified as a fissure eruption, which does not usually result in large explosions or significant production of ash dispersed into the stratosphere.

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People stand silhouetted against an explosion of orange-red magma

As Iceland Waits for Volcano’s Eruption, Here’s What to Know for Now

While the authorities continue to warn of a volcanic eruption, they say that disruption to air travel will probably be minimal.

A volcanic eruption in Iceland in July. Credit... Kristinn Magnusson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Supported by

Claire Moses

By Claire Moses

  • Published Nov. 14, 2023 Updated Nov. 17, 2023

As Iceland waits for a possible volcanic eruption, the more than 3,000 residents of a small fishing town that was evacuated on Saturday are slowly gathering some of their personal possessions with the help from emergency workers.

“We are hoping that nature will allow us this time for everyone to retrieve their most valuable personal possessions,” Jon Thor Viglundsson, a spokesman for Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said on Thursday.

As of Thursday, the Icelandic Met Office, the country’s weather service, continued to warn that there was a “significant likelihood of a volcanic eruption in the coming days.”

Since late October, tens of thousands of earthquakes have been reported in the Reykjanes Peninsula, in the southwestern part of the country. At one point there were as many as 1,400 in a single 24-hour period.

As a result, Grindavik has sunk about three feet and there are major cracks in the town’s roads, Mr. Viglundsson said. Many of the town’s 1,200 homes have been damaged.

visit volcano eruption iceland 2023

“We’ve been lucky so far to have gotten this time,” Mr. Viglundsson said. “Now we have to wait and see what nature brings.”

Last week, the popular geothermal spa the Blue Lagoon temporarily closed its doors as a precaution for a possible eruption and because of the disruption caused by the many earthquakes. This week, the spa extended its closure to Nov. 30 .

When is this volcano going to erupt?

A man wearing a neon orange jumpsuit sets up equipment in a dark empty landscape

It’s hard to predict. The authorities have said for a few days that it could be a matter of days.

This week, they said that the intensity of the seismic activity had decreased a bit, but have continued to warn for a possible eruption. The seismic activity along the underground magma continues.

While the eruption could be big, it is a highly localized event, officials say. No other towns have been evacuated and the area around Grindavik doesn’t have any farms or smaller villages.

Iceland, a country of fewer than 400,000 people and about 130 volcanoes, has a long history of volcanic activity. Most of the country’s volcanoes are active.

The country straddles two tectonic plates, which are themselves divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten hot rock, or magma. Earthquakes occur when the magma pushes through the plates.

An eruption seems unlikely to disrupt air travel.

In 2010, when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, one of the country’s largest, erupted, a resulting ash cloud grounded much of the air travel in Europe and disrupted aviation for days.

It’s unlikely this eruption will cause quite the same level of disruption, Iceland’s government has said. “There are no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open,” the government said on its website. “Seismic activity is part of Icelandic life and this potential eruption is likely to impact a limited local area of the country.”

“While the possibility of air traffic disturbance cannot be entirely ruled out, scientists consider it an unlikely scenario,” the government said on its website.

While an orange aviation alert has been put in place, the government noted there have been no flight disruptions and international flight corridors remain open. Delta, United and British Airways all indicated they were closely watching reports out of Iceland.

Is it too late to buy travel insurance?

It may be. Travel insurance would typically cover trip interruptions and evacuations caused by natural disasters, but only if you purchased the plan “before the news or warnings of the eruption became public,” said Stan Sandberg, a co-founder of TravelInsurance.com, which helps travelers compare and purchase such insurance.

Coverage might also include trip-delay benefits if the volcano eventually affects air travel, but read the fine print, he said, because plans vary significantly.

The European Union’s fair passenger rights , which provide compensation for delays and cancellations, also apply in Iceland.

Where can I find updates?

Iceland is a tourism-friendly place with a dramatic landscape and attractive airline deals to draw visitors. One website livestreams several areas of the country, especially volcanic areas. ( Watch what’s going on in the Reykjanes Peninsula .)

Officials continue to monitor any activity in real time, according to the Icelandic Met Office, especially near Grindavik, for indications of sudden changes.

Julie Weed contributed reporting.

An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the spokesman for Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. He is Jon Thor Viglundsson, not Jon Phor Viglundsson.

How we handle corrections

Claire Moses is a reporter for the Express desk in London. More about Claire Moses

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Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Latest advice after volcano eruption

visit volcano eruption iceland 2023

Cathy Adams and Lucy Perrin

Friday February 16 2024, 14:33pm

The Blue Lagoon has reopened following a period of closure due to the volcano eruption at the start of February, although the UK Foreign Office says that the likelihood of another eruption is “high”.

On February 8, a volcano erupted in Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula for the third time since December 2023. The eruption, northeast of Mount Sylingarfell, shot lava fountains up to 80m into the air and was close to the town of Grindavik, which was evacuated in January. The UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice following the latest eruption to warn tourists to stay away from Grindavik, but added that the rest of the country is not affected. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland soon, here’s what you need to know.

Main photo: people watch smoke billow from the eruption in January 2024 near Grindavik (Getty Images)

Map of Iceland showing volcanic activity in February 2024

What’s the current situation in Grindavik?

The UK Foreign Office warns tourists to stay away from Grindavik, the nearest town to the volcano. The town was evacuated in January following the last eruption, and its barrier wall, intended to divert lava flow away from it, was breached in places. The main road into the town was also cut off.

Lava from the latest volcanic eruption near Grindavik in Iceland on February 8

Is it safe to travel to Iceland right now? 

It’s not safe to visit either the site of the volcano or the town of Grindavik, but the rest of the country, including the capital, Reykjavik, remains safe to visit.

Lava flows near Grindavik in Iceland after a volcanic eruption in January 2024

What is the Foreign Office travel advice?

The Foreign Office updated its advice on February 12. It says: “Iceland is volcanic and seismically active. Recently there have been a series of volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland. These have affected the town of Grindavik and area to the north of it and the Blue Lagoon. All roads to Grindavik and the surrounding area are closed and you should stay away from this area. Keflavik International Airport and the road to it are unaffected and operating normally. The capital city, Reykjavik, and the rest of Iceland are not impacted by the eruptions. The likelihood of further eruptions in this location remains high. You should monitor local media for updates and follow the authorities’ advice on travel to the area.”

Billowing smoke from the latest volcanic eruption on the outskirts of Grindavik in Iceland

Where is the volcano in Iceland?

The volcano is by Hagafell on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland, around two miles from Grindavik. The latter is around 35 miles southwest of the capital, Reykjavik, and 16 miles from the international airport. It’s close to the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions.

Bathers at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Is the Blue Lagoon closed?

The Blue Lagoon and its restaurants, cafe and spa reopened on February 16, although it said that its opening hours had been temporarily adjusted (from 8am to 9pm). Visitors with Blue Lagoon bookings have to use an alternative route to the site, as the main access road is closed.

Are flights to Iceland cancelled?

All flights to and from Iceland are currently operating as usual.

The Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010 resulted in the largest air traffic shutdown since the Second World War, with millions of passengers stranded across the world. This is because volcanic ash, if ingested in sufficient quantities, can lead to engine failure and persistent northerly winds were carrying large plumes of ash across Europe.

Following the Eyjafjallajokull eruption, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency says it is now better prepared for future major volcanic ash events and is monitoring the current situation. It states: “In the event of an eruption and development of an ash cloud, the agency will work with other aviation actors to assess the impact for aviation and make recommendations accordingly.”

Has Reykjavik been affected by the volcano?

The city has not been affected by the volcano eruption and, according to the Foreign Office’s advice, remains safe to visit.

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Additional reporting by Qin Xie and Lizzie Frainier

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About Iceland

Visa information, geography of iceland, general information, the northern lights, volcanic eruptions, sustainable travel, iceland academy, plan your trip, how to get there, accommodation, things to do, map your journey, getting around, visitor numbers, carbon footprint, destinations, the regions, scenic routes, national parks, trip suggestions, towns & villages, inspiration, food and beverages.

 Litli-Hrútur eruption in Iceland July 2023

The area, broadly known as Fagradalsfjall, has erupted three times since 2021 and is predicted to continue to blow with some frequency based on the latest measures.

Volcanic Iceland

No signs of eruptive activity.

A new fissure eruption started on the Reykjanes Peninsula by Mt. Stóra-Skógfell on Thursday, February 8th at 6:06 AM. Since early February 9, the eruption has subsided significantly and there has been no visible activity since 8 AM that day. This marks the third eruption in the area since December of last year.

View current updates here

On average, a volcano erupts in Iceland erupts every five years. Since 2021, however, the frequency has been closer to every 12 months! The area broadly known as Fagradalsfjall, some 35km from the capital Reykjavík, flared to life after a series of earthquakes on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The three eruptions - some consider one single eruption with months-long pauses - mark the beginning of a new geological era on the southwestern peninsula, which has been dormant for the past 800 years.

Unlike most volcanic eruptions -- occurring on the interior highlands, the lava hidden under ice and/or with lethal volumes of volcanic gases -- Fagradalsfjall was the ideal 'tourist volcano': Small in relative terms and accessible for all levels of fitness.

The last eruption at Fagradalsfjall ended in August 2023, but the site still remains a major attraction. The thick, black crust of lava paves the landscape with crumbling craters and steam.

The hiking trails on Fagradalsfjall and how to get there from Reykjavík

rich-text-image

From the eruption at Fagradalsfjall in year 2021

Volcano Watch

Of Iceland’s 32 active volcanoes, none is watched more closely than Katla. One of the nation’s largest and most feared, Katla lies under glacial ice hundreds of meters (yards) thick, meaning that any eruption is likely to melt the ice and cause widespread flooding.

Katla last erupted in 1918 but gained revived attention in recent years with the dystopian Netflix series Katla , largely filmed in the area surrounding Vík .

Iceland's most famous - infamous, even - remains Eyjafjallajökull. The Eyjafjallajokull eruption of 2010 stranded millions of tourists worldwide as it grounded more than 100,000 flights over seven days because of concerns that its volcanic ash would damage aircraft engines.

In 2023, the volcano Askja showed signs of possible eruption. For latest alerts, check the official Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanos and see if any of the 32 active volcanic systems in Iceland has a color code RED (a volcano is considered active if it has erupted in the past 10,000 years). If no volcano is erupting, likely, we won't have to wait too long for the next one since Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions on the planet .

Where fire meets ice

Ash and gas plume rising from a glacier covered with black ash

Iceland's ice-covered volcanos produce black ash when 1,200°C hot basalt magma meets ice and explodes.

The nature of eruptions in Iceland is diverse, from small effusive eruptions where lava flows quietly from fissures and crater rows to significant explosive eruptions in ice-covered central volcanos that produce large ash plumes—literally where fire meets ice.

The reason for Iceland's intense volcanic activity is the country's geological position, where dynamic geological forces are at work between the spreading plate boundary on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean ridge and a powerful mantle plume creating a hot spot on the surface. Together, they produce large amounts of magma, filling the gaps in the crust made by the spreading plates, resulting in frequent eruptions along the rift zone.

Below you can find links to eruptions in Iceland in the 21st Century and other volcano-related articles. 

Litli-Hrútur eruption in Iceland with Keilir Mountain in the background July 11, 2023.

The Fagradalsfjall eruption in July 2023

After an 11-month slumber, the Fagradalsfjall Volcano system awoke again at Litli-Hrútur hill

The Fagradalsfjall 2022 eruption

On 3 August, 2022, the Fagradalsfjall began its latest eruption— just eight months after the la...

Erupting crater and flowing lava

The Fagradalsfjall 2021 eruption

After being dormant for six thousand years, the Fagradalsfjall volcano gave a rumble in 2021. T...

Fire fountains rising from a volcanic crater

The 2014 Holuhraun eruption

The 2014-2015 Holuhraun eruption was the largest outbreak in Iceland for over 300 years and las...

Black ash and steam rising from an ice-covered crater lake

The 2011 and 2004 Grímsvötn eruptions

The ice-covered Grímsvötn is Iceland's most active volcano, erupting every 14 years on average....

Black and red ash-cloud with blue flashes of lightning

The 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions

The notorious volcano with the impossible name Eyjafjallajökull erupted twice in 2010 and stopp...

Have a safe trip!

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Safe travel in Iceland

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Volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula has ceased.

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Reykjanes peninsula

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December 19, 2023

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What we know so far about the volcanic eruption in Iceland

by Sylvia Hui

Will the eruption of the volcano in Iceland affect flights and how serious is it?

Scientists anticipated the eruption of a volcano in southwestern Iceland for weeks, so when it happened on Monday night, it was no surprise. The region had been active for more than two years and thousands of small earthquakes rattled the area in recent weeks.

Here is a look at what happened and what may be ahead:

HOW THE ERUPTION UNFOLDED

It started at about 10:20 p.m. local time on Monday north of Grindavik, a fishing town of 3,400 people on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The town is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, in an area known broadly as Fagradalsfjall volcano.

First there was a series of small earthquakes. Then lava that's around 1,200 C (nearly 2,200 F) began pouring out of a fissure about four kilometers (2½ miles) long.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office estimated that hundreds of cubic meters of lava per second flowed out in the first two hours of the eruption, though the activity had significantly subsided by Tuesday afternoon.

WAS IT UNEXPECTED?

In short, no—scientists had expected the eruption for several weeks and in November, authorities evacuated Grindavik after thousands of small earthquakes shook the area for more than two weeks.

Scientists said their monitors showed that a corridor of magma, or semi-molten rock, was spreading toward the town and could reach the surface imminently.

The nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal resort , one of Iceland's best-known tourist attractions, had to close temporarily as a precaution after a magnitude 4.8 earthquake hit the area last month.

Fagradalsfjall had been dormant for around 6,000 years, but it flared to life in March 2021, when hundreds of people flocked to the Reykjanes Peninsula to see spectacular lava flows that lasted for months. The red glow from the lava could be seen from the outskirts of the capital.

WILL THIS ERUPTION AFFECT FLIGHTS?

None of the recent eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula caused damage or disruptions to flights, despite the area's proximity to the country's main Keflavik Airport.

Will the eruption of the volcano in Iceland affect flights and how serious is it?

And though Monday's eruption was larger and more powerful than those in recent years, forecasters and scientists say it's unlikely to impact air travel.

Many still recall the huge disruptions to international aviation in 2010, when a different Icelandic volcano, the Eyjafjallajokull, spewed giant clouds of ash high into the atmosphere over Europe. About 100,000 flights were grounded, millions of international travelers stranded and air travel was halted for days, because of concerns the fine ash could damage jet engines.

Experts say the location and features of this eruption mean that it isn't expected to produce much ash or cause a similar scale of disruption. AccuWeather, a U.S.-based weather forecasting firm, said Tuesday that initial information shows no ash cloud has yet been observed.

Sam Mitchell, a volcanologist at the University of Bristol, says Monday's eruption is very different to Eyjafjallajokull's in 2010, when "a large explosive eruption under a glacier produced a very large cloud and very fine ash in the atmosphere when the wind direction was pointing towards mainland Europe."

WHAT OTHER IMPACTS COULD THIS ERUPTION HAVE?

Scientists say that there is no current threat that the lava will reach the town of Grindavik, the Blue Lagoon or key structures like a nearby power plant. The residents from the area have been evacuated and most surrounding roads remain closed.

"Thankfully, this is probably the best outcome we could have hoped for," Mitchell said. It was also fortunate that authorities have had weeks to prepare and have almost completely finished erecting defensive barriers in the area, he added.

A bigger and more immediate threat is pollution from volcanic gas, which authorities say may be detected in the area of Reykjavik on Wednesday.

"Most of this is in the form of water, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. It's quite unpleasant to live in, particularly if you have respiratory problems or difficulty with breathing, asthma," Mitchell said.

Experts say it's too early to say how long the eruption will last or when local residents could move back into their homes. Some believe the eruption could last from a week to 10 days, while others say it could be months.

HOW COMMON ARE VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS IN ICELAND?

Iceland is one of Earth's most volcanically active areas, with 32 active volcanic sites. It averages an eruption every four to five years—though the frequency has increased closer to every 12 months since 2021.

The country sits on top of a volcanic hot spot and what's called the mid-Atlantic ridge, a huge crack in the ocean floor caused by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. As the plates pull apart, new magma rises up to fill the gaps, triggering earthquakes and volcanic activity.

One of the country's largest active volcanoes is Katla, which is closely watched, because it lies under thick glacial ice, meaning that any eruption could melt the ice and trigger widespread flooding. Katla last erupted in 1918, and that eruption lasted almost a month, starving crops of sunlight and killing some livestock.

© 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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How to Visit the Volcano Eruption Site in Iceland

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Table of contents.

Red lava flowing from an erupting volcano in Iceland

Where is the Erupting Volcano in Iceland?

Since 2021, there have been four eruptions in a relatively small area on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula. The first two eruptions took place at Geldingadalur Valley near the mountain of Fagradalsfjall. The third one was close by in an area called Litli-Hrútur.

The latest eruption in December of 2023 was between the mountains Sýlingarfell and Hagafell, just North of Grindavík Town (which was evacuated for safety reasons weeks before).

Is the Volcano in Iceland Still Erupting?

No! At the time of writing, the volcano has stopped.

How to Visit the Volcano in Iceland

Smoke and lava coming from a crater of Fagradalsfjall Volcano, Iceland.

Although the volcano isn’t erupting, you can still visit the site on a helicopter tour.  

The Reykjanes Peninsula has seen several eruptions in the last few years, and for the first few eruptions, hiking to the eruption site was possible. However, the latest eruption was much bigger and more powerful, making the surrounding area unsafe for visitors at the moment. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated.

The volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula is not currently erupting, but you can visit the eruption site on a helicopter tour .

Hiking to the volcano is strictly forbidden right now.

Keep your safety at the forefront of your mind when visiting Iceland, and listen to the Icelandic Search and Rescue Team. 

About the Author

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Fighting, Fleeing and Living on Iceland’s Erupting Volcano

Residents of Grindavík hope hastily constructed walls of old volcanic rock will divert hot lava streaming from fissures in the ground beneath them

By Robin George Andrews

Three people silhouetted in front of billowing red smoke

A group of people observe molten lava and billowing smoke pouring out of a fissure during a volcanic eruption near Grindavik, western Iceland on February 8, 2024.

Kristinn Magnusson/AFP via Getty Images

Just before dawn on January 14, a kilometer-long volcanic fissure opened in the ground just north of the Icelandic town of Grindavík. Instead of roaring from a conical mountain, effusive fountains of crimson lava bled upward from this schism. Soon after, a smaller second fissure opened across the frost-flecked earth. Although intense, the eruption was mercifully brief—but it still destroyed three houses in the northeastern section of the town, which had been preemptively evacuated. Two days later, people displaced from Grindavík gathered at a sports hall in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík to hear from politicians, scientists, and emergency managers and to discuss their town’s future. During the forum, Grindavík resident Bryndís Gunnlaugsdóttir said that the day that the eruption ended was the worst of her life because she discovered that her house had survived the invasion.

That may seem like a bizarre response to a volcanic eruption. But this is the new reality for Grindavík’s 3,600 residents. The January eruption was the second in as many months, and scientists are confident that the town will be imperiled by many more short but intense outbursts of lava emerging from any number of fissures for years to come—making Grindavík essentially uninhabitable.

Only homes that were directly affected by molten rock were eligible for monetary compensation, according to residents who attended the January gathering. If my house had burned down, I would have gained financial independence. I would be able to start a new home and this noose around my neck would be gone,” Gunnlaugsdóttir said at the forum .

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The town’s limbolike state may not remain a novelty for long. Grindavík sits on Iceland’s southwesterly Reykjanes Peninsula, which is a broken jigsaw of fissure-riddled volcanic systems. Until recently they had been quiet for 800 years. Yet before that time, the peninsula had been rocked by sporadic and intense eruptions over several centuries . Volcanologists now suspect that this strip of land—just west of Reykjavík—has entered a new volcanic era, wherein bodies of magma will repeatedly force their way through the surface at multiple locations.

There is a reasonable chance that the peninsula is “going into tens of years or hundreds of years of volcanic eruptions,” says Elísabet Pálmadóttir , a natural hazards expert at the Icelandic Meteorological Office. How, then, is the country going to defend itself? How is it going to try and coexist with the temperamental beast that stirs below?

Seething from the Ground

Fissure eruptions happen in certain volcanic regions worldwide, including on the slopes of Hawaiian volcanoes and across eastern Africa. But there may be nowhere on Earth quite like Reykjanes, making it as scientifically beguiling as it is hazardous. The Reykjanes Peninsula is dominated by fissure-style eruptions that vary in intensity, volume and duration. In 2020, after an 800-year interregnum, parts of the land started shaking, quaking and inflating , signifying the incursion of magma from deep below. In March 2021 magma found an escape route in an uninhabited valley adjacent to a small mountain named Fagradalsfjall, about 10 kilometers northeast of Grindavík. Two additional eruptions happened in the valley in the summers of 2022 and 2023; both were safely viewed from the surrounding hills by Icelanders and tourists alike.

Everything changed in November 2023. In the peninsula’s Svartsengi region—home to the popular Blue Lagoon spa, a critical geothermal power plant and Grindavík—seismic activity suddenly proliferated. The ground inflated rapidly—five centimeters at Mount Þorbjörnover a single week at one stage. The Icelandic Meteorological Office recognized that this geological activity could only mean one thing: A voluminous magma reservoir had emplaced itself into the shallow crust, and it had sprouted a vertical splinter of molten matter that quickly grew until it was just few hundred meters below the town.

Grindavík was swiftly evacuated. An eruption that lasted hours began on December 18 . Fissures opened just north of the town, but the molten rock flowed away from it. A January 14 eruption was even more cursory, but it managed to bulldoze the town before fizzling out the very next day. Sadly, Grindavík’s woes have likely only just begun. Shortly after the eruption’s conclusion, scientists, watching the magma reservoir continue to inflate, suspected that another eruption is imminent. “It seems to be loading up for the next eruption,” Pálmadóttir says. Sure enough, on February 8 molten rock gushed from a three-kilometer crack close to the December eruption site. Although it flowed away from Grindavík, it intercepted one of the Svartsengi power plant’s pipes, cutting off hot water to at least 20,000 people .

The lava is not even the sole concern: earthquakes related to the magma’s movements have already fractured houses, water pipes and roads in large sections of town. “The whole crust is readjusting,” says Rhian Meara , a senior lecturer in geography at Swansea University in Wales, who focuses on social history related to volcanology. “The literal structure of the earth has changed beneath the town.” The lava may not have claimed any lives, but a construction worker fell into a crevasse in January, and he’s presumed dead .

Noxious volcanic gases may also be a problem—in particular, sulfur dioxide , which effuses from shallow magma. It can be an irritant at best and lethal at worst, especially if it pools in enclosed environments, such as basements, and displaces the oxygen there. Erupted metal pollutants can also leech into the environment, and fine particles in plumes can “penetrate deep into our airways,” says Evgenia Ilyinskaya , a volcanologist at the University of Leeds in England.

The situation in Grindavík is grim—which is why displaced residents (who are mostly staying with friends or relatives in other towns) are only allowed back, often under escort, for a few hours every now and then to check on their homes. Yet despite it all, residents and scientists are fighting back against the primordial force of nature.

Fighting Fissures

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), along with the University of Iceland and several international collaborators, has at least one meeting per day with the government’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (Civil Protection), which is coordinating the emergency management response. And because the peninsula is covered in geophysical instrumentation, scientists can follow the movement of the magma with remarkable precision in almost real time.

Molten lava is seen overflowing the road leading to the famous tourist destination

One great challenge with fissures is their unpredictability. Although scientists can approximate a region in which an eruption may be looming, “you don’t know where it’s actually going to surface” until the eruption starts, says Wendy Stovall , a volcanologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, who was on scene during the highly destructive, fissure-driven eruption of Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano in 2018. That eruption had a relatively clear beginning and end, but the Reykjanes Peninsula is facing years, decades or even centuries of stop-start activity. “I think it is a rare situation,” says Sam Mitchell , a volcanologist at the University of Bristol in England. “This has shown a lot of people how unsteadiness and episodic activity can wreak havoc, societally and emotionally, in a way that we’ve not really seen before in historic times.”

Residents, of course, want to know if there is any way to repel the flow of lava. Back in 1973 a new volcano on the island of Heimaey began hastily building itself behind a nearby town. The paroxysmal cone, named Eldfell, plowed lava toward the town for 157 days. To slow its infernal advance, engineers pumped seawater from the harbor toward the red-hot lava’s leading edge. Although the molten rock still consumed land and property, the water reduced the lava’s pace , but serendipity was on the people’s side. “I suspect if it had kept erupting, it could have taken out the harbor,” says Amy Donovan , a volcanologist and natural hazards researcher at the University of Cambridge.

Not all of the infrastructure on the Reykjanes Peninsula is on the coast, however, and the scattershot appearance of multiple fissures would threaten any ad hoc water-pumping pipes and hoses. That leaves just one option. “All you can do, really, is build walls around the infrastructure,” Donovan says.

The lives of Hjálmur Sigurðsson, a managing director of construction at the Icelandic contractor ÍSTAK, and Daði Freyr Þorgeirsson, a construction worker at the company, got considerably weirder on November 10, 2023, when the earthquakes indicated that magma was ascending toward Grindavík. The call went out: get here immediately. Sigurðsson and Þorgeirsson’s destination was fields of basalt (volcanic rock) close to the town and the Svartsengi power plant. The plan was to use that volcanic rock to build a wall between the likeliest site of the seemingly imminent eruption and the town and power plant.

Using excavators, they would scour up rock from the surrounding area and a nearby mine and truck it to the potential fissure locations. They would then dump the rock and subsequently mold it with diggers and bulldozers into barriers—berms several meters high and kilometers long. It seemed reasonable that the walls, made of the same stuff as any encroaching lava, could, for a time, deflect that lava away from the threatened sites. Scientists at IMO and the University of Iceland had been running computer simulations that, using the local topography, predicted the preferential flow directions of lava from various potential fissure sites—information that the construction crews could use to best place their walls.

The ensuing operation was complex and sometimes hectic. Construction workers saw this as a unique challenge, something almost perversely exciting. But everyone knew what was at stake—the existence of a town—and plenty had friends and family residing there. “My daughter lived in Grindavík at the time,” Sigurðsson says.

The crew was in constant radio contact with Civil Protection. At one point, the workers had to quickly stop work and flee: scientists could not guarantee that they could warn the crew about lava erupting nearby because a storm’s heavy winds and rain were disrupting their seismometers. “It was kind of scary,” Þorgeirsson says. “We were all working in the most dangerous zone.”

When the December 2023 eruption began, the walls were not yet complete. They were hundreds of meters, sometimes several kilometers, long but still needed to be connected. Thankfully, lava flowed away from them. But they proved invaluable on January 14, when the first of the two fissures opened around Grindavík. It had emerged to the north of the town’s defensive wall, but its flaming southern tip had dissected the barrier.

It was early in the morning, and the call went out to all wall builders who weren’t already on-site. As he approached Þorgeirsson thought, “This is insane! What are we doing?” When he arrived, he joined several dozen workers as they scrambled to extend the wall and ensure most of the lava was diverted away from Grindavík. Despite having to race against molten rock, which frequently surrounded them, the sight of the conflagration engendered a paradoxical sense of calm. “Now they could actually see the enemy,” Sigurðsson says. The danger was knowable, something that could be combatted.

In just a few hours, while jumping between multiple vehicles, making sure they were not engulfed by lava or toxic volcanic gases, the workers successfully lengthened the wall, and most of the molten rock was pushed away from the town. But their efforts were somewhat thwarted by the emergence of a second, smaller fissure that appeared just four hours after the first one. The new scar was inside the defensive walls—and right on the town’s perimeter. “How are we supposed to fight that?” Þorgeirsson asks. “Nature was just giving us the finger.”

And therein lies the terrible reality of fissure eruptions. Walls buy invaluable time—hopefully enough to prevent a short-lived eruption from causing significant damage. “But lava’s always going to win if there’s still lava to be erupted,” Stovall says.

Grindavík’s Ghosts

Grindavík is going to be a ghost town for the foreseeable future. The government is exploring various options , including allowing residents to shift capital from their homes to purchase new property elsewhere, constructing new housing and giving residents first dibs on it and temporarily freezing mortgage payments. The state may end up buying the homes from residents and then offering them back once the eruptive threat has definitively ended.

The closest analogue to the current crisis may be another common Icelandic hazard: avalanches. In 1995 two villages were struck by separate avalanches in the country’s Westfjords region, killing several dozen people and flattening a multitude of buildings. According to Ilyinskaya, these tragedies kick-started an effort to better understand the science behind these threats, and avalanche dams were erected to shield the villages as best as possible. Yet faced with such a lethal danger well into the future, the villages were partly uprooted and moved inland , away from the highest-risk area. Increasingly, that is how Icelanders are viewing Grindavík. “I know people from Grindavík, and they are not optimistic about ever going back because the town is just ruined,” Þorgeirsson says.

“Hopefully we can build another Grindavík somewhere else,” Pálmadóttir says. She thinks about this for a moment before shaking her head. “This is crazy,” Pálmadóttir says. It isn’t yet clear what locations may be suitable, and one could argue that even if the town were to move, it wouldn’t be Grindavík anymore: the identity of this maritime town may vanish if it’s shifted away from the shore.

It is plausible that the residents of Grindavík could be scattered across the country. If so, their jobs, their schools, even their communities would disappear. Their support networks would be dismantled. “That’s sometimes more traumatic than losing your actual house,” Meara says.

Even if relocating everyone in Grindavík proves to be the best solution, that cannot work for the entirety of Reykjanes and its surroundings. Most of Iceland’s population lives on or extremely near the peninsula. “We’re not going to move everyone,” Pálmadóttir says. She points to an area on a map where a concerning cluster of earthquakes had shaken another volcanic system in late January: Brennisteinsfjöll, a collection of fissures just a few miles southeast of the capital city.

“We expected other volcanic systems in the peninsula to wake up,” Pálmadóttir says. But she notes that some scientists consider the earthquakes to be routine, unrelated to magma . Still, should an eruption eventually begin there, “the flow direction is Reykjavík,” Pálmadóttir says.

If that were to happen, residents would know in advance when rivers of lava were heading their way thanks to Iceland’s world-class monitoring effort. It helps that every Icelander is steeped in geological knowledge, a priority of the country’s education system. Almost everyone will likely heed scientists’ warnings.

Regardless of what happens next, the recent volcanic awakening has irrevocably altered the Reykjanes Peninsula—and the entire country. Volcanoes have “mostly been a positive thing for us,” Pálmadóttir says. “It’s not something that’s really threatened us. It’s given us so much,” including wondrous natural environments, endless geothermal power and a lava-centric culture. But now the picture is murkier. “Maybe the mentality has changed in the last few months,” she says. “We just have to go with the flow.”

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A volcano in Iceland is erupting again, spewing lava and cutting heat and hot water supplies

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GRINDAVIK, Iceland (AP) — A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted Thursday for the third time since December , sending jets of lava into the sky, triggering the evacuation of the popular Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and cutting heat and hot water to thousands of people.

The eruption began at about 0600 GMT (1 a.m. EST) along a three-kilometer (nearly two-mile) fissure northeast of Mount Sýlingarfell, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said. Several communities on the Reykjanes Peninsula were cut off from heat and hot water after a river of lava engulfed a supply pipeline.

People look at the volcano erupting, north of Grindavík, Iceland, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. Iceland’s Meteorological Office says a volcano is erupting in the southwestern part of the country, north of a nearby settlement. The eruption of the Sylingarfell volcano began at 6 a.m. local time on Thursday, soon after an intense burst of seismic activity. (AP Photo/Marco Di Marco)

People look at the volcano erupting, north of Grindavík, Iceland, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. Iceland’s Meteorological Office says a volcano is erupting in the southwestern part of the country, north of a nearby settlement. The eruption of the Sylingarfell volcano began at 6 a.m. local time on Thursday, soon after an intense burst of seismic activity. (AP Photo/Marco Di Marco)

The strength of the eruption had decreased by mid-afternoon, the Met Office said, though lava continued to spew from parts of the fissure and a huge plume of steam rose over a section of the crack where magma mixed with groundwater.

The eruption site is about 4 kilometers (2½ miles) northeast of Grindavik, a coastal town of 3,800 people that was evacuated before a previous eruption on Dec. 18. The Meteorological Office said there was no immediate threat to the town on Thursday.

FILE - Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano, background, towers over the summit crater of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island on April 25, 2019. A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck the world's largest active volcano Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii, knocking items off shelves in nearby towns but not immediately prompting reports of serious damage. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

Civil defense officials said no one was believed to be in Grindavik at the time of the new eruption. “They weren’t meant to be, and we don’t know about any,” Víðir Reynisson, the head of Iceland’s Civil Defense, told national broadcaster RUV.

The Civil Defense agency said lava reached a pipeline that supplies several towns on the Reykjanes Peninsula with hot water — which is used to heat homes — from the Svartsengi geothermal power plant. Authorities urged residents to use hot water and electricity sparingly, as workers rushed to lay an underground water pipe as a backup. Schools, gyms and swimming pools were shut because of the lack of heat and water.

A view of the volcano erupting, north of Grindavík, Iceland, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. Iceland’s Meteorological Office says a volcano is erupting in the southwestern part of the country, north of a nearby settlement. The eruption of the Sylingarfell volcano began at 6 a.m. local time on Thursday, soon after an intense burst of seismic activity. (AP Photo/Marco Di Marco)

The Blue Lagoon thermal spa, created using excess water from the power plant, was closed when the eruption began and all the guests were safely evacuated, RUV said. A stream of steaming lava later spread across the exit road from the spa.

No flight disruptions were reported at nearby Keflavik, Iceland’s main airport, but hot water was cut off, airport operator Isavia said.

The Icelandic Met Office earlier this week warned of a possible eruption after monitoring a buildup of magma, or semi-molten rock, below the ground for the past three weeks. Hundreds of small earthquakes had been measured in the area since Friday, capped by a burst of intense seismic activity about 30 minutes before the latest eruption began.

Dramatic video from Iceland’s coast guard showed fountains of lava soaring more than 50 meters (165 feet) into the darkened skies. A plume of vapor rose about 3 kilometers (1½ miles) above the volcano.

Iceland, which sits above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic , averages an eruption every four to five years. The most disruptive in recent times was the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which spewed huge clouds of ash into the atmosphere and led to widespread airspace closures over Europe.

Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist who has worked extensively in Iceland, said it’s highly unlikely the “gentle, effusive” eruption would disrupt aviation because such volcanoes produce only a tiny amount of ash.

Grindavik, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, was evacuated in November when the Svartsengi volcanic system awakened after almost 800 years with a series of earthquakes that opened large cracks in the earth north of the town.

The volcano eventually erupted on Dec. 18, sending lava flowing away from Grindavik. A second eruption that began on Jan. 14 sent lava towards the town. Defensive walls that had been bolstered since the first eruption stopped some of the flow, but several buildings were consumed by the lava, and land in the town has sunk by as much as 1½meters (4½ feet) because of the magma movement.

No confirmed deaths have been reported, but a workman is missing after falling into a fissure opened by the volcano.

Both the previous eruptions lasted only a matter of days, but they signal what Icelandic President Gudni Th. Johannesson called “a daunting period of upheaval” on the Reykjanes Peninsula, one of the most densely populated parts of Iceland.

It’s unclear whether the residents of Grindavik will ever be able to return permanently, McGarvie said.

“I think at the moment there is the resignation, the stoical resignation, that, for the foreseeable future, the town is basically uninhabitable,” he said.

He said that after centuries of quiet, “people thought this area was fairly safe.”

“It’s been a bit of a shock that it has come back to life,” he added, “Evidence that we gathered only quite recently is that eruptions could go on for decades, if not centuries, sporadically in this particular peninsula.”

Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this story.

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Iceland volcano: Will flights be affected and what damage could be caused?

A volcano spews lava and smoke as it erupts in Grindavik

ICELAND VOLCANO LOCATION

A volcano erupted late on Monday in southwest Iceland, spewing lava and smoke through a four-kilometer-long fissure.

WILL ICELAND WEATHER AFFECT POLLUTION RISK?

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, Louise Rasmussen and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Alison Williams

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Mapping the ongoing eruptions in Iceland

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At 6 a.m. Thursday, a new eruption occurred on the Reykjanes Peninsula of Iceland. It is the second eruption to occur on the island this year and the third in the past three months.

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Population: 387,758

Eyjafjallajökull volcano

erupted in 2010

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Population:

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Within hours, Icelandic media was reporting that Thursday’s fissure eruption was already subsiding, but damage was done with the lava crossing the main road that leads north, and a hot water pipe had been damaged. Residents have been asked to limit their electricity and hot water usage; temperatures were expected to be between 12 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit over the next two days.

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Hot water pipeline

cut by lava

Aerial image source:

Iceland Civil Protection

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Hot water pipeline cut by lava

Road cut by lava

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Aerial image source: Iceland Civil Protection

The pattern of eruptions in this area began in 2021, with a new eruption once a year located in a relatively isolated area. However, in November signs of a new eruption were pointing to areas situated farther west and much closer to the fishing village of Grindavík and other important infrastructure, including a power plant and the Blue Lagoon, a popular tourist spa. The government began to build defensive walls in the area to protect these assets.

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Lava flows since 2021

Defensive walls begin to be built

in November/December 2023.

visit volcano eruption iceland 2023

walls begin

to be built

in Nov./Dec.

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Defensive walls

begin to be built

Nov./Dec. 2023

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Beginning on Dec. 18, eruptions have occurred with more frequency, and residents of Grindavík have been forced to leave. The future of the town itself is very much up in the air, as cracks have surfaced making the current conditions uninhabitable. Below is an aerial image on Jan. 14 showing how the wall barrier was, for the most part, able to deflect the lava flow from the town, although a fissure did form beyond the barrier and destroyed three homes. Plans are being drawn up to have future barrier walls built much closer to the town’s homes.

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A smaller fissure

formed beyond the

wall barrier and

three houses

Lava was able

the barrier

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formed beyond

the wall barrier and

able to breach

the barrier here

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Wall barrier

Lava was able to

breach the barrier here

A smaller fissure formed beyond the wall

barrier and destroyed three houses

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Sources: Iceland GeoSurvey, National Land Survey of Iceland, cartographic data via Ragnar Heiðar Þrastarson from the Icelandic Met Office, the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland, the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and Statistics Iceland.

An incorrect eruption date was listed on a map locating the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. It has been corrected from 2008 to 2010.

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History Daily

History Daily

Epic Eruption: Unbelievable Photos from Icelands Volcanic Eruptions

Posted: February 20, 2024 | Last updated: February 20, 2024

<p>Welcome to a journey that explores the unpredictable dance between volcanic forces and human determination. In the captivating landscapes of Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, recent volcanic eruptions have transformed 'Disney volcanoes' into tangible threats. Through mesmerizing aerial views captured, we'll delve into the aftermath of these eruptions, revealing the delicate balance between nature's fury and human efforts to control and adapt. It's a universal tale of resilience, where communities grapple with the unpredictable, reaffirming the indomitable human spirit in the face of evolving volcanic landscapes.</p>   <p>The ongoing series of volcanic eruptions in Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, near the town of Grindavík, has captured the world's attention. It all began on the evening of December 18, 2023, when the Sundhnúkur crater chain north of Grindavík came to life, spewing lava from newly formed fissures in the ground. The sheer intensity of the eruption and the accompanying seismic activity initially gripped the region but began to subside on December 19, 2023, as lava started to flow laterally from both sides of the fissures.</p>  <p>This eruption quickly earned the distinction of being the largest in the Reykjanes Peninsula since the onset of eruptive activity in 2021. With lava fountains reaching staggering heights of up to 100 meters (330 feet), the display was visible from as far away as the capital city of Reykjavík, situated 42 kilometers (26 miles) from the epicenter. The story took an unexpected turn on January 14, 2024, with a second fissure eruption north of Grindavík. Although most of its lava was diverted away from the town by newly constructed protection barriers, a third fissure opened just meters away, leading to the heartbreaking loss of three residential houses.</p>

The 2023-2024 Sundhnúkur Eruptions: A Volcanic Saga Unfolds

Welcome to a journey that explores the unpredictable dance between volcanic forces and human determination. In the captivating landscapes of Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, recent volcanic eruptions have transformed 'Disney volcanoes' into tangible threats. Through mesmerizing aerial views captured, we'll delve into the aftermath of these eruptions, revealing the delicate balance between nature's fury and human efforts to control and adapt. It's a universal tale of resilience, where communities grapple with the unpredictable, reaffirming the indomitable human spirit in the face of evolving volcanic landscapes.

The ongoing series of volcanic eruptions in Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, near the town of Grindavík, has captured the world's attention. It all began on the evening of December 18, 2023, when the Sundhnúkur crater chain north of Grindavík came to life, spewing lava from newly formed fissures in the ground. The sheer intensity of the eruption and the accompanying seismic activity initially gripped the region but began to subside on December 19, 2023, as lava started to flow laterally from both sides of the fissures.

This eruption quickly earned the distinction of being the largest in the Reykjanes Peninsula since the onset of eruptive activity in 2021. With lava fountains reaching staggering heights of up to 100 meters (330 feet), the display was visible from as far away as the capital city of Reykjavík, situated 42 kilometers (26 miles) from the epicenter. The story took an unexpected turn on January 14, 2024, with a second fissure eruption north of Grindavík. Although most of its lava was diverted away from the town by newly constructed protection barriers, a third fissure opened just meters away, leading to the heartbreaking loss of three residential houses.

<p>On January 14, 2024, Grindavik, Iceland, became the epicenter of a volcanic spectacle that not only fascinated the world but also brought about significant challenges for the local community. This awe-inspiring natural event saw molten lava flow into Grindavik, marking an unprecedented moment in Iceland's volcanic history. Iceland's President aptly described the situation as "daunting," emphasizing the gravity of the eruption.</p>  <p>The eruption originated from the Sundhnúkur volcanic system in southwest Iceland. It unleashed fountains of lava, captivating global audiences through webcams and social media platforms. However, what set this eruption apart was the unexpected intrusion of lava into people's homes, signifying a "worst-case scenario" for the region. As lava flows cut off roads and breached the outskirts of the coastal town of Grindavík, it served as a stark reminder of the unpredictable and powerful forces that lie beneath Iceland's mesmerizing landscapes.</p>

Crisis and Beauty: The 2024 Grindavik, Iceland Volcanic Eruption

On January 14, 2024, Grindavik, Iceland, became the epicenter of a volcanic spectacle that not only fascinated the world but also brought about significant challenges for the local community. This awe-inspiring natural event saw molten lava flow into Grindavik, marking an unprecedented moment in Iceland's volcanic history. Iceland's President aptly described the situation as "daunting," emphasizing the gravity of the eruption.

The eruption originated from the Sundhnúkur volcanic system in southwest Iceland. It unleashed fountains of lava, captivating global audiences through webcams and social media platforms. However, what set this eruption apart was the unexpected intrusion of lava into people's homes, signifying a "worst-case scenario" for the region. As lava flows cut off roads and breached the outskirts of the coastal town of Grindavík, it served as a stark reminder of the unpredictable and powerful forces that lie beneath Iceland's mesmerizing landscapes.

<p>University of Iceland scientists embarked on a mission to study an active volcano in Grindavik on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula on December 19, 2023. Their goal: to measure and collect samples from the volcanic ridge. At that time, experts observed that the eruption, while showing signs of diminishing intensity, still posed a significant risk.</p>  <p>During the eruption, three vents channeled lava through a 2-mile-long crack, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office. They cautioned that the potential for more vents opening up along the original fissure or in different directions remained a concern. The volcano had erupted approximately 1.8 miles from Grindavík, an area that had seen prior evacuations in anticipation of the event. The unpredictability of volcanic activity was emphasized by volcanologist and geologist Jess Phoenix, who explained that volcanoes are inherently unpredictable, making it difficult to anticipate their next moves. While the immediate focus was on the potential danger to Grindavik should the eruption continue to spread south, the primary concern remained the safety of property, as most residents had already been evacuated.</p>

Volcanic Unpredictability: Iceland's Ongoing Eruption Saga

University of Iceland scientists embarked on a mission to study an active volcano in Grindavik on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula on December 19, 2023. Their goal: to measure and collect samples from the volcanic ridge. At that time, experts observed that the eruption, while showing signs of diminishing intensity, still posed a significant risk.

During the eruption, three vents channeled lava through a 2-mile-long crack, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office. They cautioned that the potential for more vents opening up along the original fissure or in different directions remained a concern. The volcano had erupted approximately 1.8 miles from Grindavík, an area that had seen prior evacuations in anticipation of the event. The unpredictability of volcanic activity was emphasized by volcanologist and geologist Jess Phoenix, who explained that volcanoes are inherently unpredictable, making it difficult to anticipate their next moves. While the immediate focus was on the potential danger to Grindavik should the eruption continue to spread south, the primary concern remained the safety of property, as most residents had already been evacuated.

<p>In the quiet fishing village of Grindavík, Iceland, a devastating turn of events unfolded as lava flowed from an active volcano, leaving houses in its fiery wake. As emergency crews raced against time to construct protective barriers of dirt and rock, their aim was clear: to divert the lava flow away from the heart of the town. Unfortunately, several houses in Grindavík succumbed to the relentless advance of molten rock, reduced to ashes and rubble before the lava's temporary pause.</p>  <p>One resident, <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/icelandic-man-watched-lava-volcano-eruption-burn-down-his-house-live-tv/">Hrannar Jon Emilsson</a>, had eagerly awaited the opportunity to move into his new home for months. Tragically, he bore witness to his dream home being devoured by the fiery stream, a heart-wrenching spectacle broadcast live on television. This destruction marked southwestern Iceland's second volcanic eruption in less than a month.</p>

Devastation Unleashed: Lava Engulfs Homes in Grindavík, Iceland

In the quiet fishing village of Grindavík, Iceland, a devastating turn of events unfolded as lava flowed from an active volcano, leaving houses in its fiery wake. As emergency crews raced against time to construct protective barriers of dirt and rock, their aim was clear: to divert the lava flow away from the heart of the town. Unfortunately, several houses in Grindavík succumbed to the relentless advance of molten rock, reduced to ashes and rubble before the lava's temporary pause.

One resident, Hrannar Jon Emilsson , had eagerly awaited the opportunity to move into his new home for months. Tragically, he bore witness to his dream home being devoured by the fiery stream, a heart-wrenching spectacle broadcast live on television. This destruction marked southwestern Iceland's second volcanic eruption in less than a month.

<p>In March 2021, the normally restrained Icelandic volcano, Fagradalsfjall, took center stage on the Reykjanes Peninsula as it revealed its fiery spectacle. The eruption began when an eruptive fissure opened up in the picturesque Geldingadalir valleys. This volcanic outburst was preceded by an intense earthquake episode, which had rattled the Reykjanes Peninsula for three weeks, resulting in more than 40,000 earthquakes.</p>  <p>Icelanders have a unique term for such eruptions – a "tourist eruption," signifying minor eruptions that are easily accessible. While the typical response to a volcanic event is to retreat to safety, in Iceland, the "usual" reaction is quite the opposite. Locals and visitors alike couldn't resist the allure of nature's captivating display, and they flocked to the eruption site to witness the mesmerizing show that Fagradalsfjall had to offer. This remarkable eruption showcased Iceland's deep connection with its volatile and awe-inspiring natural surroundings.</p>

Nature's Spotlight: Iceland's Spectacular Fagradalsfjall Eruption of 2021

In March 2021, the normally restrained Icelandic volcano, Fagradalsfjall, took center stage on the Reykjanes Peninsula as it revealed its fiery spectacle. The eruption began when an eruptive fissure opened up in the picturesque Geldingadalir valleys. This volcanic outburst was preceded by an intense earthquake episode, which had rattled the Reykjanes Peninsula for three weeks, resulting in more than 40,000 earthquakes.

Icelanders have a unique term for such eruptions – a "tourist eruption," signifying minor eruptions that are easily accessible. While the typical response to a volcanic event is to retreat to safety, in Iceland, the "usual" reaction is quite the opposite. Locals and visitors alike couldn't resist the allure of nature's captivating display, and they flocked to the eruption site to witness the mesmerizing show that Fagradalsfjall had to offer. This remarkable eruption showcased Iceland's deep connection with its volatile and awe-inspiring natural surroundings.

<p>Iceland, renowned as one of the world's most volcanically active regions, never fails to captivate the hearts of adventure enthusiasts. In this land of fire and ice, volcanic eruptions are not rare occurrences but rather regular phenomena, with an eruption happening approximately every three to five years. This natural rhythm of eruptions has become a source of fascination for those eager to witness the mesmerizing lava flows up close.</p>  <p>In recent years, visitor interest in volcanic eruptions has skyrocketed, fueled by the allure of witnessing nature's raw power. The March 2021 eruption at Fagradalsjall was a prime example, drawing thousands of curious spectators from around the world. According to the Icelandic Tourism Board, over 356,000 tourists flocked to the smoldering site while the eruption was still ongoing. Long queues formed along the main walking paths as visitors patiently awaited their turn, and many chose to linger near the lava field, eager to capture enviable night-time photos of the fiery spectacle. Iceland's volcanic wonders continue to be a beacon for adventure-seekers, offering a unique and unforgettable experience amidst the elemental forces of the Earth.</p>

Iceland's Volcanic Wonders: A Magnet for Adventure-Seekers

Iceland, renowned as one of the world's most volcanically active regions, never fails to captivate the hearts of adventure enthusiasts. In this land of fire and ice, volcanic eruptions are not rare occurrences but rather regular phenomena, with an eruption happening approximately every three to five years. This natural rhythm of eruptions has become a source of fascination for those eager to witness the mesmerizing lava flows up close.

In recent years, visitor interest in volcanic eruptions has skyrocketed, fueled by the allure of witnessing nature's raw power. The March 2021 eruption at Fagradalsjall was a prime example, drawing thousands of curious spectators from around the world. According to the Icelandic Tourism Board, over 356,000 tourists flocked to the smoldering site while the eruption was still ongoing. Long queues formed along the main walking paths as visitors patiently awaited their turn, and many chose to linger near the lava field, eager to capture enviable night-time photos of the fiery spectacle. Iceland's volcanic wonders continue to be a beacon for adventure-seekers, offering a unique and unforgettable experience amidst the elemental forces of the Earth.

<p>The March 2021 eruption near Mount Fagradalsfjall in southwest Iceland marked a momentous event, being the first volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula in over 800 years. As the fiery spectacle unfolded, some Icelanders were content to embark on a hike close enough to feel the heat radiating from the volcanic maw, while others piloted their drones perilously close to the bubbling lava. Remarkably, a few even saw it as an ideal backdrop for an impromptu barbecue.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.foodandwine.com/news/people-are-cooking-hot-dogs-on-an-erupting-volcano-in-iceland">However, authorities and the Ministry of Emergency Situations were quick to remind everyone</a> of the inherent dangers of hanging around an erupting volcano. They issued a stern warning, emphasizing that volcanic eruptions are inherently perilous for humans. While the mesmerizing lava flow may be captivating, it's not without its risks. The danger extends beyond the lava itself, as phreatic explosions can occur when scorching magma comes into contact with snow and ice, creating a potentially life-threatening situation. Despite the allure of such a unique natural phenomenon, safety remains paramount when dealing with the unpredictable forces of volcanic activity.</p>

Iceland's BBQ Extravaganza at Mount Fagradalsfjall

The March 2021 eruption near Mount Fagradalsfjall in southwest Iceland marked a momentous event, being the first volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula in over 800 years. As the fiery spectacle unfolded, some Icelanders were content to embark on a hike close enough to feel the heat radiating from the volcanic maw, while others piloted their drones perilously close to the bubbling lava. Remarkably, a few even saw it as an ideal backdrop for an impromptu barbecue.

However, authorities and the Ministry of Emergency Situations were quick to remind everyone of the inherent dangers of hanging around an erupting volcano. They issued a stern warning, emphasizing that volcanic eruptions are inherently perilous for humans. While the mesmerizing lava flow may be captivating, it's not without its risks. The danger extends beyond the lava itself, as phreatic explosions can occur when scorching magma comes into contact with snow and ice, creating a potentially life-threatening situation. Despite the allure of such a unique natural phenomenon, safety remains paramount when dealing with the unpredictable forces of volcanic activity.

<p>In recent years, Iceland has witnessed a significant shift in its perspective on volcanic eruptions, transforming them from captivating tourist attractions often dubbed "Disney volcanoes" to tangible threats. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/jan/24/iceland-volcanoes-eruptions-tourists-damage-nature">Andri Snær Magnason, in his thought-provoking op-ed for The Guardian</a>, delves into this evolving relationship with volcanic activity. He highlights a time when eruptions were more of a spectacle, drawing in tourists without causing substantial damage.</p>  <p>However, Magnason underscores the seismic change in recent years, emphasizing that nature's forces can't be entirely controlled or predicted. He explores how Iceland, once a hub for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts, is now facing the harsh reality of volcanic unpredictability.</p>

From 'Disney Volcanoes' to Real Threats: Iceland's Shifting Relationship with Eruptions

In recent years, Iceland has witnessed a significant shift in its perspective on volcanic eruptions, transforming them from captivating tourist attractions often dubbed "Disney volcanoes" to tangible threats. Andri Snær Magnason, in his thought-provoking op-ed for The Guardian , delves into this evolving relationship with volcanic activity. He highlights a time when eruptions were more of a spectacle, drawing in tourists without causing substantial damage.

However, Magnason underscores the seismic change in recent years, emphasizing that nature's forces can't be entirely controlled or predicted. He explores how Iceland, once a hub for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts, is now facing the harsh reality of volcanic unpredictability.

<p>In January 2024, the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland witnessed a resurgence of volcanic activity, leading to a series of eruptions that sent lava flowing perilously close to the town of Grindavík. Emergency personnel took swift action, employing construction equipment to erect protective walls in a desperate bid to shield the town's center from the encroaching lava. Despite their efforts, several homes succumbed to the fiery onslaught.</p>  <p>Halting the relentless advance of lava is an arduous challenge, and various methods have been attempted in the past with mixed results. In a famous 1973 experiment on Heimaey island, Icelanders used water hoses from small boats and fishing vessels to cool and slow down lava from the Eldfell volcano, which threatened to close off a crucial harbor vital to the region's fishing industry and connection to the mainland. Although the eruption ended before the strategy's success could be fully evaluated, the harbor survived.</p>  <p>Recent efforts have centered on diverting lava flows through dams or ditches, guiding them along a different path of steepest descent – akin to redirecting a natural lava watershed. While outcomes have varied, successful diversion hinges on channeling the lava into an area where it can flow naturally without endangering other communities. Taming the molten, viscous force of lava remains a complex endeavor, with humans continually exploring innovative methods to protect their homes and livelihoods in the face of nature's fury.</p>

The Fiery Challenge: Defending Against Lava's Relentless Advance in Iceland

In January 2024, the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland witnessed a resurgence of volcanic activity, leading to a series of eruptions that sent lava flowing perilously close to the town of Grindavík. Emergency personnel took swift action, employing construction equipment to erect protective walls in a desperate bid to shield the town's center from the encroaching lava. Despite their efforts, several homes succumbed to the fiery onslaught.

Halting the relentless advance of lava is an arduous challenge, and various methods have been attempted in the past with mixed results. In a famous 1973 experiment on Heimaey island, Icelanders used water hoses from small boats and fishing vessels to cool and slow down lava from the Eldfell volcano, which threatened to close off a crucial harbor vital to the region's fishing industry and connection to the mainland. Although the eruption ended before the strategy's success could be fully evaluated, the harbor survived.

Recent efforts have centered on diverting lava flows through dams or ditches, guiding them along a different path of steepest descent – akin to redirecting a natural lava watershed. While outcomes have varied, successful diversion hinges on channeling the lava into an area where it can flow naturally without endangering other communities. Taming the molten, viscous force of lava remains a complex endeavor, with humans continually exploring innovative methods to protect their homes and livelihoods in the face of nature's fury.

<p>The aerial view of the cooling lava field just outside Grindavik on January 15, 2024, paints a sobering picture of the aftermath of the volcanic eruptions in Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula. While some homes have managed to withstand the fiery onslaught, they bear the scars of the temblors that damaged their foundations. Beneath the town, moving magma wreaked havoc on essential infrastructure, a particularly critical issue since the entire town relies on geothermal-generated power.</p>  <p>As the dust settles, the extent of the damage becomes clearer. Roads are marred by widening cracks, and some once-familiar thoroughfares are now concealed beneath layers of solidified lava.</p>

Frozen in Time: Aerial View Reveals Lava's Impact on Grindavik's Landscape

The aerial view of the cooling lava field just outside Grindavik on January 15, 2024, paints a sobering picture of the aftermath of the volcanic eruptions in Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula. While some homes have managed to withstand the fiery onslaught, they bear the scars of the temblors that damaged their foundations. Beneath the town, moving magma wreaked havoc on essential infrastructure, a particularly critical issue since the entire town relies on geothermal-generated power.

As the dust settles, the extent of the damage becomes clearer. Roads are marred by widening cracks, and some once-familiar thoroughfares are now concealed beneath layers of solidified lava.

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IMAGES

  1. Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcanic eruption a 'wonder of nature'

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  2. 🔴 LIVE VIEW

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  3. Iceland Volcano Near Litli Hrútur 2023

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  4. Iceland: Volcano erupts in Litli-Hrútur after weeks of earthquakes

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  5. Hiking to the Volcano eruption site in Iceland

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  6. Volcano erupts in Iceland after weeks of earthquakes

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VIDEO

  1. Iceland Volcanic Eruption: Lava Flow Persists Amidst Heavy Snowfall

  2. Icelandic Eruption Danger Area Increases Again!

  3. Tourists sleeping at the Volcano! Iceland Eruption 2023. Day 13. 22.07.23

  4. Earthquakes intensify in a New Swarm Near the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

  5. Thousands of Large Earthquakes in Iceland & Flight Warning Code Now Orange

  6. Volcano erupts near Iceland’s capital

COMMENTS

  1. Complete Guide to the 2023 Eruption of Litli-Hrutur Volcano

    On July 10th, a volcanic eruption began by the mountain Litli-Hrutur on the Reykjanes Peninsula just before 5 pm. The people of Iceland had been expecting this, as they had experienced many earthquakes in the days leading up to the eruption.

  2. The Complete Guide to the 2023 Sundhnukagigar Volcanic Eruption

    The 2023 Eruption by Grindavik Learn everything you need to know about the 2023 Sundhnukagigar volcano eruption in Iceland. Were the people and infrastructure of Grindavik in danger? How powerful was the eruption? In this article, you'll find out everything you want to know about the Sundhnukagigar eruption in Iceland.

  3. Volcano tourism: How to witness Iceland's glowing lava up close

    The spectacular eruption began on 10 July 2023, following heightened seismic activity in the Reykjanes Peninsula area - just 30 km southwest of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.

  4. Iceland volcano 2024: Is it safe to travel and is the eruption

    A volcano erupted on Sunday on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula for the second time after thousands of small quakes rocked the southwest coast. The eruption began on 14 January just before 8am...

  5. What to Know About Iceland's Volcanic Eruption

    Dec. 19, 2023 阅读简体中文版 閱讀繁體中文版 After weeks of anticipation, a volcanic eruption in Iceland's most populated area sent lava spewing into the night sky late Monday and pushed the authorities...

  6. Iceland Travel: What the Volcanic Eruption Means for Tourists

    A volcano erupted in southwest Iceland on Monday. Despite the eruption, only the Blue Lagoon spa, Grindavik and areas close the volcano are off limits to the public. "The volcano right...

  7. Iceland's 2023 Volcanic Eruption

    How This Volcanic Eruption is like the Ones in 2021 & 2022. Similar to the other eruptions in 2021 and 2022, we experienced many earthquakes before any lava was seen. There were somewhere around 10,000 earthquakes reported and the largest of those was on Sunday, July 9 th, which was classified as an M5.2. It was felt across the country, which ...

  8. Volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula has ceased.

    Key Takeaways: A volcanic eruption started on January 14 near the town of Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. No volcanic activity has been visible since January 16 and the eruption has been declared over. The eruption's effects are confined to the town and the immediate area surrounding the eruption site.

  9. Iceland volcano: What's going on and what are the risks?

    CNN — Iceland has declared a state of emergency and more than 3,000 residents have been urged to evacuate the small, coastal town of Grindavík as the country's authorities anticipate the imminent...

  10. Iceland Volcano Eruption Near Litli Hrútur 2023

    A third eruption appeared to the north of Fagradalsfjall near Litli-Hrútur hill on July 10th 2023 and ended on August 5th, 2023. The lavas from these three eruptions partly overlap each other. After hundreds of years of calmness, the Reykjanes Peninsula awakened in 2021 and continues to quake and spew lava.

  11. Iceland volcano: eruption begins on Reykjanes peninsula after weeks of

    In March 2021, lava fountains erupted spectacularly from a 500- to 750-metre-long (1,640- to 2,460ft-long) fissure in the ground in the Fagradalsfjall volcanic system. Iceland is home to 33 active ...

  12. Iceland: Volcano erupts on Reykjanes peninsula

    Volcano erupts on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula weeks after town evacuated By Mitchell McCluskey, Taylor Ward and Jessie Yeung, CNN 5 minute read Updated 3:08 PM EST, Tue December 19, 2023...

  13. Iceland volcano eruption: will it spark a flight crisis and how long

    Lili Bayer Tue 19 Dec 2023 08.33 EST At 10.17pm local time (22.17 GMT) on Monday, a volcanic eruption began north of Grindavík on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland. It came after weeks of...

  14. Volcano in Iceland: July 2023 Eruption at Litli-Hrútur

    Litli Hrútur Eruption in July 2023. Iceland Travel Guide, in collaboration with SafeTravel.is, is diligently working on creating an updated webpage to address your queries regarding the recent eruption. The sight of a volcanic eruption is truly awe-inspiring, and Iceland is currently experiencing its third eruption along the same rift zone in ...

  15. December 19, 2023

    A volcano erupted Monday on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said. The eruption happened about 3 kilometers (about 1.8 miles) north of the town of Grindavík...

  16. As Iceland Waits for Volcano's Eruption, Here's What to Know for Now

    30 By Claire Moses Published Nov. 14, 2023 Updated Nov. 17, 2023 Leer en español As Iceland waits for a possible volcanic eruption, the more than 3,000 residents of a small fishing town...

  17. Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Latest advice after volcano eruption

    On February 8, a volcano erupted in Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula for the third time since December 2023. The eruption, northeast of Mount Sylingarfell, shot lava fountains up to 80m into the ...

  18. Iceland's Volcanic Eruption 2023

    Where is the 2023 Icelandic Eruption Happening? The new Icelandic eruption is occurring on the Reykjanes Peninsula, close to the site of both the 2021 and 2022 eruptions. The location of Litli-Hrutur is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to the northeast of Fagradalsfjall Volcano. To go to Litli-Hrutur and back, you must walk about 20 kilometers ...

  19. Volcanic eruptions in Iceland

    On average, a volcano erupts in Iceland erupts every five years. Since 2021, however, the frequency has been closer to every 12 months! The area broadly known as Fagradalsfjall, some 35km from the capital Reykjavík, flared to life after a series of earthquakes on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The three eruptions - some consider one single eruption ...

  20. Iceland Travel: Should You Visit Amid Volcano Drama?

    The U.S. State Department's travel advisory for Iceland remains at the lowest level, although it has issued a volcano alert advising people to monitor the situation. The United Kingdom's ...

  21. What we know so far about the volcanic eruption in Iceland

    A volcanic eruption started Monday night on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula, turning the sky orange and prompting the country's civil defense to be on high alert. Credit: Icelandic coast guard via ...

  22. How to Visit the Volcano Eruption Site in Iceland

    The latest eruption in December of 2023 was between the mountains Sýlingarfell and Hagafell, just North of Grindavík Town (which was evacuated for safety reasons weeks before). Is the Volcano in Iceland Still Erupting? No! At the time of writing, the volcano has stopped. How to Visit the Volcano in Iceland

  23. Fighting, Fleeing and Living on Iceland's Erupting Volcano

    A group of people observe molten lava and billowing smoke pouring out of a fissure during a volcanic eruption near Grindavik, western Iceland on February 8, 2024. Just before dawn on January 14, a ...

  24. Iceland volcano eruption: Watch live as it erupts again

    GRINDAVIK, Iceland (AP) — A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted Thursday for the third time since December, sending jets of lava into the sky, triggering the evacuation of the popular Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and cutting heat and hot water to thousands of people.. The eruption began at about 0600 GMT (1 a.m. EST) along a three-kilometer (nearly two-mile) fissure northeast of Mount ...

  25. Is Iceland entering a new volcanic era?

    It is the third short-lived eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula since December 2023 and the sixth since 2021. But scientists think this is just the start of a period of volcanic activity that...

  26. Iceland volcano: Will flights be affected and what damage could be

    - In 2021, volcanic activity in the area continued for six months, prompting thousands of Icelanders and tourists to visit the scene - In August 2022, a three-week eruption happened in the same ...

  27. Maps of the the ongoing volcanic eruptions in Grindavik, Iceland

    Flames obstruct the road leading to the Blue Lagoon in Grindavík, Iceland on Feb. 8, as a volcano erupted for the third time since December. (Video: Reuters) At 6 a.m. Thursday, a new eruption ...

  28. Epic Eruption: Unbelievable Photos from Icelands Volcanic Eruptions

    The ongoing series of volcanic eruptions in Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula, near the town of Grindavík, has captured the world's attention. It all began on the evening of December 18, 2023, when ...