Iceland Witnesses Its Most Powerful Volcanic Eruption Yet

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.17 - 2024 11:02 AM CET

Photo: Private
Photo: Private
Iceland experienced a dramatic night as a volcano painted the sky orange with its fiery eruption.

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The eruption, occurring between Hagefell and Stóra Skógfell on the southwestern Reykjanes Peninsula, began last evening, prompting the Icelandic civil defense to evacuate several areas.

The country has seen multiple volcanic eruptions since last year, but according to geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, who flew over the area during the night, this current eruption appears to be the most intense so far.

Speaking to Icelandic media RÚV, Guðmundsson noted that lava had flowed approximately 1,200 meters towards the town of Grindavík in just over an hour.

The direction of the lava flow remains uncertain, but it may follow the same path as the last eruption, which resulted in several houses in Grindavík being consumed by fire.

This eruption's fissure spans about three kilometers, marking the sixth eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula since 2021.

Popular Tourist Attraction Evacuated

Among the locations evacuated was the famous tourist spot, the Blue Lagoon, which had to clear out its visitors yesterday.

Bjarney Annelsdóttir, a police officer in Iceland, told RÚV that about 700 people were at the Blue Lagoon when the eruption occurred.

The town of Grindavík also underwent evacuation, though the civil defense reported few people needed to be moved. In January, lava reached the outskirts of the town, forcing the evacuation of its 4,000 residents.

Both evacuations conducted last evening have been completed.

The civil defense reported that the night passed smoothly, but efforts to secure the country's infrastructure continue.

Keflavik Airport and regional airports in Iceland are operating fully, according to RÚV.

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