Lava Flow Nearing Small Farm and Sea Skip to content
eruption march 2024
Photo: Vedurstofan.

Lava Flow Nearing Small Farm and Sea

Lava flow from the eruption which began last night on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland is beginning to slow down, but newer dangers have arisen.

As reported, the initial fissure, stretching from Hagafell to Stóri Skógfell, was three and a half kilometres long and considerably more powerful than the previous recent eruptions in the area. From this fissure, lava began to flow in two directions: west and south.

The flow to the west has all but stopped, but the lava flowing south is continuing, albeit slowly. However, it presents new dangers if it continues flowing.

This southerly lava flow was diverted away from the town of Grindavík thanks to earthen walls, but the lava is also flowing in the direction of a farm near the south coast of Reykjanes called Hraun (which literally means “lava”).

Hörður Sigurðsson, who lives at Hraun, told reporters that he was very surprised when the eruption began. He and his wife, who is not named, were at the time at Ásabrú, near Keflavík, where they have been for the past few months. They and others had been working on an earthen dam to protect the farm when the eruption occurred, and are now in a state of uncertainty about the future of Hraun, as it is in the lava’s path.

“But you’re so optimistic that everything will be alright,” he said. “You become a little careless this way. You just don’t want to believe anything else; perhaps you’re in some kind of denial.”

Vísir reports that the lava is flowing at a rate of about 20 metres per hour, and is about 400 metres away from Suðurstrandarvegur, the road that runs along the south coast of Reykjanes, at the time of this reporting.

Pálmi Erlendsson, a natural hazards specialist, told reporters that the lava flowing over the road is one thing; it reaching the sea would be a whole other matter. While saying that it is impossible to tell by how much the lava will slow down, if it does reach the sea, it will release large quantities of toxic gases and it would be “unhealthy to live near the area” when, or if, that should happen.

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