Civil Protection Department Sends Warning Messages to All Travellers in the Mt. Hekla Area Skip to content
Photo: Nina Thorkelsdottir.

Civil Protection Department Sends Warning Messages to All Travellers in the Mt. Hekla Area

The Civil Protection Department and the Police Commissioner in South Iceland decided on Monday to activate text messages that will be sent to those who enter a pre-defined area around Mt. Hekla.

A swarm of earthquakes began in Reykjanes peninsula on December 21. Although the seismic activity has slowed down for the past hours, scientists believe that there is still a chance of eruption, presumably near the site of this year’s eruption in Fagradalsfjall.

Mt. Hekla, however, is situated in the southern part of the Central Highlands and is a part of another volcanic system. According to the Civil Protection Department, measurements of expansion show high levels of magmatic pressure in the magma chamber underneath the volcano. In fact, expansion levels have been high under Hekla since 2006, which means that the chance of eruption has been consistent for some years now.

The volcano erupted in every decade from 1970 to 2000. Hence, an unusually long time has passed since the last eruption.

Mt. Hekla is a fairly popular hiking spot, and guided tours are offered in the area. Eruptions in Hekla usually happen without a warning, which means that evacuating the area before the event is problematic, if not impossible. This is why scientists have warned against unnecessary travel in the area for a long time.

The Civil Protection Department emphasises that there is nothing in particular that indicates imminent danger of eruption in Hekla. The threat has remained the same for some years, but the Department says that using technology to warn against potential danger is an appropriate way to communicate to travellers who might be unaware of the situation.

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