New volcanic eruption in Iceland – strongest yet

The eruption started at 21:23 Swedish time on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland after a short-term increase in seismic activity. The same area has been hit by several similar outbreaks earlier in the winter.

A helicopter has been sent up to study the eruption more closely. The fissure is estimated to be roughly three kilometers long and the amount of magma that flows out is reminiscent of the scale of recent eruptions, Icelandic Ruv reports.

Volcanic eruption in Iceland

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  • According to the meteorological institute, the lava flows rapidly south towards the defenses north of Grindavik and west, similar to the course during the eruption on February 8. In an hour and a half, the lava had flowed about 1,200 meters south.

    Just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, the lava reached the defense ramparts, which were built to protect the community. It now flows east of Grindavik instead, down towards the sea.

    The town of Grindavik was evacuated

    The Chief of the National Police has decided on heightened preparedness for the civil defence.

    Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, head of communications at the civil defense, tells Ruv that the town of Grindavik has been evacuated, but that the eruption poses no threat to the residents at the moment.

    According to Defense Chief Víðir Reynisson, an evacuation of around 700 people who were at the Blue Lagoon tourist attraction has also been carried out.

    Strongest eruption to date

    The current eruption is the strongest so far, says geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson to Ruv. Since the start of the eruption, the lava fissure has become longer, and the entire fissure is very active.

    According to an expert at the Icelandic Meteorological Institute, the increased seismic activity in the area started at 20:00 Swedish time, and there were about 80 earthquakes in total.

    The eruption is the fourth to hit the Reykjanes Peninsula since December last year.

    The text is updated.