Iceland News Review: The Puffins Return, Trip Into a Volcano, and More

In this episode of Iceland News Review, we delve into Iceland’s new government; the return of Iceland’s iconic puffins; a new attraction that could show you the inside of an active volcano, and much more.

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Evacuation Partially Recalled, Roads May Open Soon

Seyðisfjörður

The partial evacuation of two East Iceland villages–Neskaupstaður and Seyðisfjörður–has been recalled for the former, Austurfrétt reports. Some area roads are still impassable but may open later today.

High winds, heavy snow

As reported, high winds and heavy snow began moving into the region at the start of the weekend. These weather conditions, combined with the tall, steep mountains that East Iceland is famous for, can increase the danger of avalanches.

These two villages, like many other human settlements in East Iceland, rest at the foot of such mountains. For this reason, the neighbourhoods in these villages most in direct danger of an avalanche were evacuated on Saturday.

Roads may reopen today

While Möðrudalsöræfi, Fjarðarheiði and Vopnafjarðarheiði–heath areas with roads connecting coastal villages to the main highway–are still closed at the time of this writing, they may reopen this afternoon, weather permitting.

The current forecast for the region shows snow continuing through the day, but with winds calming down. Check the Met Office site and SafeTravel before venturing into the area.

Eruption Crater Wall Collapses

Grindavík volcanic eruption January 2024

The last remaining lava crater from the eruption that began on March 16th has collapsed, following it overflowing with lava yesterday evening. The lava is flowing in a northerly direction.

Overflowed last night

As reported, the eruption in in Reykjanes has calmed considerably over the past few weeks, but has managed to stay active. For a while, it had plateaued to two craters, which then later reduced to one.

These craters are formed at fissure sites. As lava surrounding the fissure begins to cool, walls begin to form, which grow higher as the eruption continues. As recently as last Saturday, this particular crater was filled with bubbling lava that was occasionally spraying eastward. All that changed last night, Vísir reports, as the lava began to overflow the crater itself.

No immediate danger

As this lava continued flowing, soon the crater wall itself collapsed, issuing forth considerably more lava, albeit for a short span of time. Böðvar Sveinsson, a natural hazards expert at the Icelandic Met Office, told Vísir that it is very unlikely that the lava will affect any nearby infrastructure, but that they are monitoring the situation closely.

Partial Eclipse Will be Visible in Iceland on Monday

If you are in Iceland and unable to travel to North America to witness the total solar eclipse that is due to be visible there tomorrow, April 8th, fear not; you will be able to get the next best thing. A partial solar eclipse will be (cloud cover willing) visible from many parts of the country on Monday evening.

Four-tenths eclipse

The path of the total solar eclipse will extend roughly from northern Mexico, through Texas and across the contiguous United States from southwest to northeast, and then over the maritimes of eastern Canada.

Stjörnufræðivefurinn, Iceland’s premiere astronomy site, reports that here in Iceland, we may be able to catch a partial solar eclipse on Monday evening, wherein 41% to 47% of the sun will be blotted out by the moon.

Next total solar eclipse in 2026

The best place to see it will be in Reykjavík, where it is set to commence at 6:49 PM and reach its peak at 7:39 PM, where a 47% partial solar eclipse may be witnessed. It will also be visible from Ísafjörður, starting at 6:48 PM and peaking at 7:37 PM, as a 41% partial solar eclipse. Other parts of western Iceland may also have some luck, but from Akureyri eastward, not so much; the sun will have set in that part of Iceland before the conclusion of the eclipse.

The weather forecast for Monday evening is showing partly cloudy skies for Reykjavík and Ísafjörður, so there is a chance those in these areas will be able to witness the eclipse. If you miss it, don’t worry–come August 2026, a total solar eclipse will be visible from Iceland.

Perlan May Soon Offer Journey “Into the Volcano”

A rainbow over Perlan, one of the museums in Reykjavík

Perla norðursins ehf, the company that holds the lease for Reykjavík’s famed landmark Perlan, has submitted a proposal to Reykjavík City Council for a new attraction at the site: a virtual elevator ride into the depths of the Earth, to witness the interior of a volcano.

“Into the volcano”

According to the proposal, the site would be roughly 100 metres squared and just to the west of the Perlan structure. The attraction, tentatively called “Into the Volcano”, would offer guests a virtual “elevator ride” some 2,000 metres down into the Earth.

The journey itself would began at an active volcano in Reykjanes, depicting lava flow and ash near Grindavík. As passengers descend into the Earth, screens would depict what they would see if they could literally sink into a volcano unharmed. In addition, there would be a display showing how deep into the Earth the guests are descending, what the temperature is at a given depth, and other data points.

A physically present guide, or a voiceover narration, would explain to guests further what they are witnessing. The entire journey would take about seven minutes.

A trial run

The proposal states that Perlan would cover all the costs to create the exhibition and would pay the City of Reykjavík 1 million ISK per year in rent. They are asking for a three-year trial run of the attraction.

Eruption Reduces from Two Craters to One

Although still ongoing, the Reykjanes eruption that began on March 16th has more encouragingly reduced from two craters issuing lava into the air to just one, mere days after an announcement from the Icelandic Met Office that two craters were still active.

Hard to predict what happens next

Speaking to RÚV, national hazards expert Sigríður Kristjánsdóttir said that while the crater Sundhnúkagígar is still active, the other remaining crater has ceased apparent activity since last Friday. “It’s a particular development and it’s difficult to predict what will happen next,” she said.

She added that lava has been more or less contained to the lava pool within the crater itself. On occasion, lava does manage to splash out of the crater, in an easterly direction.

Downgraded, but still active

The news comes mere days after Civil Protection downgraded the eruption area from “emergency phase” to “alert phase” (applying strictly to the eruption area; not the country as a whole).

In the wake of this the Blue Lagoon has opened to guests once again.

Two Villages Evacuated Due to Avalanche Danger

avalanche neskaupstaður

The Icelandic Met Office has reported that North and East Iceland are in an “uncertainty phase”, and the East Iceland villages of Neskaupstaður and Seyðisfjörður in particular are in a “danger phase”, due to the chance for avalanches. As a result, parts of both of those villages have been evacuated until further notice.

High winds, heavy snow

The weather forecast predicted the presence of high winds and heavier snowfall moving into East Iceland over the weekend and, as reported, these weather conditions in areas with tall and steep mountains elevate the risk of avalanches. These topographical regions are most prevalent in two areas in particular in Iceland: the Westfjords, and East Iceland.

In addition to these villages being partly evacuated, Seyðisfjarðarvegur–which is the road that connects Seyðisfjörður to Egilsstaðir on Route 1–will also be closed due to the weather.

Alert to extend into evening

The weather is expected to worsen as the day progresses, but is also expected to clear up by Monday morning.

Those planning on traveling through this area during this period are strongly advised to forego those plans, and to check both the Met Office and SafeTravel for updates.

Iceland News Review: Presidential Elections Special Edition!

In this episode of Iceland News Review, we explore all the latest on who’s running for President of Iceland, including one surprise candidate that might shake up the government. In addition, big changes at Geysir, plus weather, road conditions, and much more!

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

To Thrive in Chaos

Entering Gallerí Kannski for the Brokat Films exhibition Horseplay, the very first thing that greets you is the smell of fresh hay. Round the corner to the exhibition space itself, and you immediately see why: the entire space, about the size of a modest living room, is covered in it.Next, it’s the music. A pounding, […]

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