Increasing uplift (land rise) has been measured on the Reykjanes peninsula since the beginning of April, a sign that magma is collecting below the surface. There are no indications that an eruption is imminent, however. The peninsula has been the site of Iceland’s two most recent eruptions, in 2021 and 2022.
Magma far below the surface
Land on the Reykjanes peninsula has risen between 2 and 2.5 centimetres (around one inch) since the beginning of April, Hildur María Friðriksdóttir, a natural hazard specialist at the Icelandic Met Office told RÚV. “What we’ve been seeing now is steady uplift by Fagradalsfjall [the site of the 2021 and 2022 eruptions]. We aren’t seeing any recent changes or anything sudden. We are seeing uplift which is probably due to magma that is collecting again beneath the site. It’s at a significant depth. The situation is stable at the moment.”
First eruptions in nearly 800 years
An eruption began on the Reykjanes peninsula on March 19, 2021, the first in the area for nearly 800 years. It lasted around six months, until September 2021. It was followed by another, though shorter, eruption at the same location in 2022, lasting just over two weeks. Experts have stated that these eruptions likely mark the beginning of a more active volcanic period on the peninsula.
Familiar activity, but no indications eruption is imminent
Both the 2021 eruption and 2022 eruption were preceded by uplift as well as strong earthquakes felt across Southwest Iceland and the capital region. An M 3.2 earthquake occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula, by Kleifarvatn lake, on June 28. Hildur says, however, that earthquake activity has been fairly stable on Reykjanes recently and it is difficult to say whether there will be another eruption on the peninsula, or when. “There is nothing currently that indicates an [imminent] eruption. I don’t dare to promise anything but there’s nothing that indicates an eruption as it stands.”
Read more about the geology of the Reykjanes peninsula.