According to reports, the eruption commenced from a nearly two-mile-long fissure in the early morning hours following intense small earthquake activity in the region. Authorities evacuated tourists due to the natural disaster, with no reports of any loss of life at this time.
The eruption also occurred close to the small fishing town called Grindavik, which was evacuated back in December due to a prior eruption.
How The Iceland Volcanic Eruption Began
Footage from the eruption in Iceland and our evacuation from the area. 🌋 We are grateful to be safe and to have experienced such a thrilling event! #grindavik #iceland #volcano #volcaniceruption #lava pic.twitter.com/HrIm94FmWj
— Paul Zizka (@PaulZizkaPhoto) February 8, 2024
Around 5.30 in the morning, the area that covers the northeast of Sylingarfell in Iceland experienced an intense small earthquake activity. This event was part of a series of seismic activities that the region had been experiencing since the previous Friday, as documented by the Icelandic Met Office.
Within 30 minutes of the earthquake, an eruption commenced from a 1.9-mile-long fissure northeast of Mount Sundhnukur in the same region.
Videos that captured the eruption revealed jets of lava flying out of the fissure and reaching as high as 165 feet into the darkened skies. Additionally, a plume of vapor ascended about one mile above the volcano, heightening the intensity of the natural disaster.
Due to the eruption, tourists visiting the nearby renowned Blue Lagoon thermal spa, one of Iceland’s major attractions, were evacuated to hotels for safety. At the time the eruption had begun, a stream of steaming lava was seen spreading across the exit road from the spa, justifying the safety measures taken earlier.
The Eruption Occurred Near Grindavik In Iceland
— Dr Bryony Mathew (@BryonyMathew) February 8, 2024
The most recent eruption also occurred just two and a half miles northeast of the coastal town of Grindavik, which is home to 3,800 people. The town had been evacuated before a previous eruption on December 18, and it has been reported that no one was in the area at the time of the latest eruption.
“They weren’t meant to be, and we don’t know about any,” said Iceland’s Civil Defense head, Víðir Reynisson, in a statement to the Icelandic national broadcaster RUV, per Daily Mail.
As of now, there have been no reported casualties. However, the Iceland Met Office has noted that the lava from the volcano is moving towards a pipeline from the Svartsengi geothermal plant that provides hot water to communities on the peninsula.
As a precaution, residents have been urged to minimize the use of hot water while the authorities are working on installing an underground water pipe.
Grindvadik Residents May Be Unable To Return To Their Land Permanently
Icelandic volcano erupts for third time in two months.
A volcanic eruption has started again in Iceland close to an already severely damaged fishing town and the country’s top tourist attraction, the Blue Lagoon spa.
[📹 Doug Jewell]pic.twitter.com/11T4xaP03B
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) February 8, 2024
The eruptions around Grindavik have caused severe damage to buildings in the town and have sunk the land in the area due to magma movement. Given the extensive destruction and the ongoing possibility of future eruptions, an expert has stated that the permanent return of Grindavik’s residents to their land is uncertain.
“I think at the moment there is the resignation, the stoical resignation, that, for the foreseeable future, the town is basically uninhabitable,” said volcanologist Dave McGarvie, per AP.
He added that people had initially thought that this “area was fairly safe” due to the absence of eruptions from the volcano for centuries and have now experienced “a bit of a shock that it has come back to life.”
McGarvie continued, “Evidence that we gathered only quite recently is that eruptions could go on for decades, if not centuries, sporadically in this particular peninsula.”
Iceland Has Experienced Volcanic Eruptions In Recent Years
Another volcano erupted in southwest Iceland, marking the third eruption in the last two months 🌋 pic.twitter.com/DoTiZR9uwz
— DW News (@dwnews) February 8, 2024
Iceland’s current ordeal isn’t surprising, as it is highly susceptible to natural disasters because it lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is a divergent plate boundary where the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate are shifting away from each other, thereby spurring earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The country has experienced eruptions multiple times across the last decade, with the most disruptive occurring in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano shot up 15 lava fountains, reaching heights of up to 185 meters.
It resulted in huge clouds of ash being spewed into the atmosphere and the closure of widespread airspace all over Europe due to visibility issues.