The Meradalir eruption site was reopened today to the public following several days of weather-related closures. The announcement came this morning, following a status update meeting with Suðurnes chief of police Gunnar Schram. The announcement can be seen in a Facebook post below from The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management.
Prior to the announcement, tourists had been turned away from the eruption site. Police had set up checkpoints along the road from Grindavík to determine drivers’ destinations. In a statement to Fréttablaðið, Gunnar stated the need for Icelandic authorities to establish clearer lines of communication with visitors, most of whom are foreign tourists.
Although weather has been uncooperative for visitors, the eruption is seen by geologists as conforming well to their models, with few surprises. The above satellite image provided by the Meteorological Office shows imaging of earthquakes in the Reykjanes peninsula leading up to the eruption.
The deformation northeast of Grindavík, indicated by the black box, is considered to be the source of the M5.5 earthquake that occurred on July 31. Using earthquake and GPS data, geologists have determined that the region’s magma distribution is unchanged, with a steady flow since the beginning of the eruption. The Department of Civil Protection and the Meteorological Office both warn that authorities should prepare for a potentially long-term eruption.
Those planning on visiting the eruption site may want to read our guide to visiting Meradalir.