Reykjanes Eruption Could be Short-Lived, Volcanologist Notes

Reykjanes eruption Iceland eruption

A volcanologist has described the ongoing Reykjanes eruption as typical for shallow magma chamber eruptions, where built-up pressure leads to rapid magma ascent followed by a quick decrease in intensity. The volcanologist also noted that there are indications that the current eruption may be short-lived.

Eruption in Grindavík unlikely

In an interview on the radio station Rás 2 this morning, volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson characterised the ongoing eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula as typical for eruptions originating from a shallow magma chamber, where magma has been injected into a chamber over a significant period of time, causing pressure to build.

“Once that pressure becomes so great that it equals or exceeds the threshold of the chamber’s roof, it breaks, and the magma ascends very quickly. This extra pressure from the accumulation of magma drops rapidly, causing the eruption to decrease swiftly. This is actually a classic example of such eruptions.”

Asked about the likelihood of new vents opening on the fissure as activity diminishes, Þorvaldur believes the chances are “lower than higher.” 

“The risk continually decreases. In my view, there’s almost no chance of an eruption, for instance, in Grindavík, or in its immediate vicinity. However, there’s always a possibility that some craters might reactivate a bit further north. But it seems more likely to go in the other direction.”

Might be over before the weekend

In Þorvaldur’s opinion, it is not unlikely that the area from Eldvörp to Fagradalsfjall might experience more eruptions in the coming years, either on the Sundhnúka rift, along the line in Fagradalsfjall, or possibly slightly westward. “I believe this is not over, unfortunately. There’s an equal chance that we might see a repeat of these events in the coming years.”

When asked to predict the future course of the eruption, Þorvaldur replied that such a thing was difficult. “But many indications suggest that this will be a short eruption that could end within the next few days. Possibly even before the weekend.”

YMCA/YWCA Iceland Issues Apology Over Founder’s Abuse

Friðrik Friðriksson

Following witness testimonies in October, YMCA/YWCA Iceland has acknowledged that Reverend Friðrik Friðriksson, founder of the organisation, sexually harassed boys and overstepped their boundaries. The board of YMCA/YWCA Iceland issued an apology this morning.

Witnesses invited to share experiences

In late October, a book authored by historian Guðmundur Magnússon alleged that Reverend Friðrik Friðriksson, the founder of YMCA/YWCA Iceland (a non-profit and non-governmental youth organisation based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ), had made sexual advances towards a minor.

The leadership of YMCA/YWCA Iceland stated that they were shocked by the allegation and invited those who had been subjected to sexual harassment or abuse by Friðrik, or those who had information about such incidents, to come forward and share their experiences.

Beyond a reasonable doubt

In a statement published on Facebook and in the newspaper Morgunblaðið today, YMCA/YWCA Iceland has concluded that Reverend Friðrik Friðriksson sexually harassed boys and overstepped their boundaries. A formal channel had been opened with the assistance of two experienced professionals:

“Through this channel, testimonies have now emerged, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Reverend Friðrik Friðriksson, founder of YMCA/YWCA Iceland, exploited his respected position to overstep boundaries in interactions with boys and sexually harassed them. YMCA/YWCA Iceland hereby sincerely apologise to the victims,” the statement reads. “We regret that the organisation was not aware of the founder’s behaviour at the time, as Reverend Friðrik passed away in 1961.”

“The board of YMCA/YWCA Iceland thanks the many who have concerned themselves with the matter and have in various ways contributed to this reckoning with the past.”

The statement concludes by saying that the organisation does not condone sexual harassment or abuse, and the safety and welfare of children are of utmost priority.

“We make very strict demands on those who work with children and youth in our organisation. They must, among other things, undergo thorough background checks and receive training and education on ethical standards, child protection, and boundaries in interactions.”

In November, the Reykjavík City Council voted to remove the statue of Séra Friðrik from downtown Reykjavík and put it into storage.

Man Rescued Near Eruption Site Following SOS Signal

Reykjanes eruption Iceland eruption

The Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter and rescue teams were called out last night to search for a man near the eruption area who had sent a distress signal to a passing aeroplane. The man was subsequently found, cold and exhausted.

SOS signal sent near Litli-Hrútur

At around 8.30 PM yesterday, pilot Ernir Snær Bjarnason, flying a small private plane over Litli-Hrútur – the site of a former eruption site on the Reykjanes peninsula (and not far from the site of the current eruption) – spotted an SOS signal.

Ernir informed a control tower, which then relayed the information to the operations centre in Suðurnes. Jón Þór Víglundsson, a spokesperson for Landsbjörg, told Vísir yesterday that the SOS signal may have been sent from a phone, possibly using a dedicated smartphone app (Ernir later stated that he believed the man had used a flashlight):

“The signal involves a sequence of light flashes: three short, three long, and three short bursts, with brief pauses in between. This sequence is recognized internationally as an SOS signal,” Jón Þór explained yesterday.

Two people initially believed to have sent the signal

Following this alert, the helicopter of the Icelandic Coast Guard, alongside a sizeable rescue team, was deployed to the area, which had experienced frost and a significant drop in temperature. Meanwhile, Ernir and his copilot circled above the distress signal for an hour, or until the helicopter swooped down to rescue the man. 

At ca. 9.30 PM yesterday, Ásgeir Erlendsson, a spokesperson for the Icelandic Coast Guard, confirmed that the man had been located between Keilir and Kistufell. The man was cold and exhausted and transported back to Reykjavik for medical care. He had left his equipment behind with flashing lights, which initially led to the belief that there were two people who had sent the SOS signal.

In an interview published on Vísir just before midnight yesterday, Ernir stated that the Icelandic Coast Guard had conjectured that the man would likely have died from exposure had Ernir not spotted the SOS signal.