New vents continue to open at the Geldingadalir eruption site, where magma first broke the surface on March 19, 2021. Experts witnessed at least six vents open up at the site this morning. The new vents are all located along the same fissure that is the source of the eruption on Southwest Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula.
A red glow in the night sky alerted residents of Southwest Iceland that an eruption had begun on the evening of March 19. Several additional fissures opened last week at the site, which has had a slow but steady lava flow since it began nearly a month ago.
Elísabet Pálmadóttir, Natural Hazard Specialist at the Icelandic Met Office, says the new vents are all along the same fissure, where more openings can be expected to appear in the near future. “We can expect this to continue, that new vents will continue to open up. We had warned about this before, and continue to do so.” Elísabet encourages visitors to the site to show caution.
According to Elísabet, it is likely the small vents will merge with each other. “When vents first open, they can erupt at two, three, or four sites, then join together in one or two vents. Since this is just the beginning, it’s not certain there will continue to be six separate vents, they will likely merge.”
The lava from the vents is all flowing southward into Geldingadalir. The overall lava flow at the site yesterday was around 5m3 per second, a decrease from previous days. While no figures are yet available, experts from the University of Iceland stated “there is no obvious change in the activity at the other vents” and therefore the new vents “seem to be pure additions to the eruption flux.”
Gas from the eruption is currently blowing north and northeast toward Vatnsleysuströnd.