January 2024 Reykjanes Eruption: Lava Reaches Grindavík Skip to content

January 2024 Reykjanes Eruption: Lava Reaches Grindavík

By Andie Sophia Fontaine

Grindavík
Photo: Golli.

Lava from the second eruption fissure, which opened at around noon today, reached its first house in Grindavík shortly after 2:00PM, RÚV now reports.

Grindavík, located on the south coast of Reykjanes peninsula, has faced five eruptions now over the past four years, but none have reached as close to the town as the one that began this morning at around 8:00.

Grindavík residents monitoring situation closely

This initial fissure is close to 900 metres long but located further away than the new fissure, which is about 150 metres long and opened mere metres away from the edge of town. Rescue workers have been diligently building earthen walls to keep the larger, initial lava flow at bay. This has been successful, although the lava has reached Grindavíkurvegur, the road which connects the town to Reykjanesbraut, the main highway between Keflavík and the greater Reykjavík area.

As the town was evacuated last night, residents have been following the situation very closely. Many of them were only able to take small things from their homes, due the short notice given by increased seismic activity and magma flow recorded during the night.

Government will meet this afternoon

Relevant ministries are due to meet with Civic Protection at 17:00 to discuss the matter. Many residents of Grindavík have already had to find temporary lodging elsewhere, and if developments prevent them from returning to the town, either temporarily or permanently, arrangements will need to be made with the help of the government to find new homes for them.

Police and Civic Protection have been repeatedly emphasising to the general public to stay away from the eruption area. There is no one in Grindavík and the area is in a very unstable and dangerous state.

Eruption may be stabilising

Benedikt Halldórsson, expert director of earthquakes at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, added that the eruption appears to have reach a certain equilibrium with the opening of the second fissure. Due to the flatness of the area, the lava is flowing fairly slowly, and if it continues at it current rate could flow at about one hundred metres per hour.

Scientists and rescue workers are monitoring the situation closely and working around the clock.

For more in-depth coverage on the eruption and its impact, read our Ask Iceland Review article on the subject.

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