The eruption that began on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula yesterday has already decreased in intensity. This is the third eruption on Reykjanes in three years following a break of some 800 years, and experts say the region has entered a period of increased volcanic activity. Residents of the Reykjanes peninsula and the Reykjavík capital area are encouraged to keep their windows closed today due to gas pollution.
Eruption exactly where expected
An eruption began on the Reykjanes peninsula at 4:40 PM yesterday afternoon following around a week of increased earthquake activity, including an M5.2 earthquake on Sunday night that was felt across the country. The eruption is located between Litli-Hrútur and Mt. Keilir, right where experts had predicted it would break out and just north of the 2021 and 2022 eruption sites.
Civilians asked to stay away
At the moment, the eruption does not threaten roads, infrastructure, or inhabited areas. The risk of gas pollution both at the site and elsewhere in the region is, however, significant. Civilians have been asked to stay away from the eruption site for the time being due to life-threatening conditions. Authorities have also told residents across Southwest Iceland, including the capital area and even as far as the Snæfellsnes peninsula to keep their windows closed due to the pollution.
Activity decreased since yesterday
The eruption is behaving typically for a fissure eruption, according to the Volcano and Natural Hazard Group of South Iceland. Such eruptions tend to be most powerful when they start, due to gas that accumulates high up in the magma intrusion that makes its way to the surface. When the eruption begins, the pressure in the magma tunnel begins to drop and with it the intensity of the eruption. “Now it’s just a question of how long the eruption channel stays open before the eruption ends,” the group wrote.
The eruption can be seen on a live feed below.