Major Volcanic Eruption in Iceland: 'The Fear We Dreaded Most'

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.19 - 2023 7:44 AM CET

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Major Volcanic Eruption in Iceland.

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Iceland is currently experiencing a harrowing situation, as a volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula erupted last night, leading to the evacuation of many residents. This event has sparked significant concern and attention, particularly due to the unusual nature of the volcanic activity.

Vulcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson described the situation as being close to a worst-case scenario. A series of earthquakes around midnight triggered a powerful volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula.

Throughout the night, there were reports of 'very violent activity' on the peninsula, located south of the capital, Reykjavik. Þórðarson, speaking to the media outlet Morgunbladid around 2 AM(Local time), assessed the situation as 'as close as you get to a nightmare scenario.'

The eruption, which began late Monday evening, was long anticipated, and many residents had already evacuated the area. The initial assessments early Tuesday morning, however, indicated a slightly more optimistic outlook. It was no longer believed that the lava would flow towards the small fishing town of Grindavik, which has approximately 3,500 residents, as reported by the Icelandic media RÚV.

Despite this, all roads to and from the town will remain closed for several days, according to a statement from the local police on Facebook.

The volcanic eruption, which started around 10:20 PM local time, was captured in videos shared on social media, showing several meters high lava fountains erupting into the air.

Kristín Jónsdóttir, director of the Icelandic Meteorological Institute, stated that they are keeping a 'close eye' on the situation over the next few hours. "It's often the case with eruptions like this that they are most violent at the beginning, and we are seeing very violent activity right now," she said to RÚV.

Reykjavik's international airport, located approximately 15 kilometers northwest of the volcanic eruption, remains open. As of now, no flights have been canceled due to the eruption, although the airport's website reports that some flights Tuesday morning are delayed.

This volcanic eruption in Iceland, which had been anticipated since October following weeks of earthquakes, has brought a long-feared scenario to reality. The unfolding events highlight the ever-present and dynamic nature of Iceland's geological landscape.

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