Late Monday evening, a series of earthquakes triggered a long-anticipated volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, just south of the capital city, Reykjavik. This development was confirmed by the Icelandic Meteorological Institute early Tuesday.
Prior to the eruption, the fishing town of Grindavík, located near the site of the volcanic activity, had been evacuated following the onset of seismic activity.
Additionally, the popular tourist destination, the Blue Lagoon - a collection of geothermal baths - has been closed as a precaution, as reported by the Icelandic media RÚV.
The lead-up to the eruption was marked by multiple earthquakes in the area, with the largest registering a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale. Footage of the eruption, showing high spouts of lava, has been shared on various platforms, including a livestream on RÚV's website, showcasing the lava eruption from Mount Sýlingafell.
Kristín Jónsdóttir, director of the Icelandic Meteorological Institute, noted that the eruption began around 10:20 PM local time (an hour behind Denmark) and that there is a risk of lava flow towards Grindavík. She mentioned that such eruptions are often most violent in the beginning, and the institute is closely monitoring the situation.
Víðir Reynisson, Iceland’s police commissioner for public protection, urged people to stay away from Reykjanes, emphasizing that this is not a tourist eruption. He also stated that the exact flow and location of the lava are not yet known, describing the eruption as strong and the lava spouts as quite high.
Despite the eruption, Reykjavik's international airport, approximately 15 kilometers northwest of the eruption site, remains open with no flight cancellations. "Currently, there are no disruptions to either departures or arrivals at Keflavik Airport," the airport stated on its website.
The Reykjanes Peninsula has experienced several volcanic eruptions in recent years, typically in uninhabited areas. As recently as March 2021, lava began flowing from a half-kilometer-long fissure only ten kilometers from Grindavík.
Watch the vulcano erupt right here: