Reykjanes Eruption: Lava Fountain Reaches Height of 300 Metres Skip to content
Lava spewing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes Peninsula
Photo: Golli. Lava spewing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Reykjanes Eruption: Lava Fountain Reaches Height of 300 Metres

The ongoing eruption on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula has changed its rhythm. After more than six weeks of slow but relatively steady flow, lava is now fountaining 300 metres (984 feet) up into the air – and then not erupting at all. The flow is now alternating between ten minutes of intense activity and three minutes of almost none, in a regular pattern that began around 1.00am on Sunday, May 2, according to the Icelandic Met Office.

The pulsating behaviour could suggest a possible change in the magma’s composition, a blockage within the conduit, or a change in the inflow/outflow ratio of the magma source, according to Elísabet Pálmadóttir, Natural Hazard Specialist at the Icelandic Met Office. The fountaining lava can be seen around 30km (18.6mi) away in the Reykjavík capital area and across parts of Southwest Iceland.

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The eruption is a popular site among visitors: over 63,000 have made the hike to see it since magma first broke the surface on March 19. In light of the change in activity, authorities are currently re-mapping the hazard area at the site. Visitors may be rerouted to ensure their safety from flying tephra. It’s possible that some of the fountaining lava was carried up to 300 metres (984 feet) and started a small brush fire near the expanding lava field, where smoke was seen rising from the ground.

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