A parking lot for 500 cars, pathways, and park wardens are all included in a memorandum suggesting infrastructure for the ongoing eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula in Southwest Iceland, RÚV reports. The memorandum was written by a working group commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Office and is now being reviewed by officials. The popular site is expected to draw even larger numbers of visitors as travel restrictions are lifted and international tourism picks up.
The eruption, located just 32 kilometres from Iceland’s capital Reykjavík, began on March 19, 2021 and shows no signs of stopping. It is considered small by experts and poses little danger to inhabited areas. The memorandum states that whether or not the eruption continues, the site is likely to remain popular among visitors.
Landowners Willing to Invest in Infrastructure
The eruption is located on private land, but according to the memorandum, the landowners are willing to build up infrastructure and services in the area to receive tourists. Preparations to do so are already underway and consultants have been hired to work on long-term planning at the site.
“There are plans that a parking lot there would accommodate about 500 cars at a time, in addition to being able to accommodate buses in parking spaces. A fee will be charged for parking access. There will be toilet facilities for guests by the car park,” says the memorandum. While there were no such facilities at the site when the eruption began, it now has several unpaved parking lots and portable restroom facilities.
According to the memorandum, landowners plan to negotiate with helicopter companies regarding landing at the site as well as specialised service providers for driving to the site itself. Landowners will cover the cost of the road construction involved. The eruption site is currently accessible by private flight or a two-hour hike from the parking area. An information centre in the nearby town of Grindavík is also part of the memorandum’s suggestions, as well as the installation of electrical cables so that security cameras and gas metres can be installed at the site. Infrastructure development at the site will be done with the intention to protect the surrounding environment.
No Signs Eruption Will Stop Soon
According to scientists at the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences, it’s impossible to predict how long the eruption will last. Lava flow at the site has, however, increased since it began in late March. The flow at Geldingadalir eruption is about 5% of the average flow in Holuhraun during the six months that the eruption lasted, from September 2014 to the end of February 2015.