New Magma Intrusion Below Reykjanes Peninsula Skip to content

New Magma Intrusion Below Reykjanes Peninsula

By Yelena

Þorbjörn efitr Pálmi Erlendsson Veðurstofan
Photo: Golli. Þorbjörn mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula.

Magma is collecting some 4 km [2.5 mi] below the surface of the Reykjanes peninsula, not far from where three eruptions have occurred over the last three years. The new magma intrusion is just northwest of the town of Grindavík, close to Þorbjörn mountain and the Blue Lagoon. While there are no signs that an eruption is imminent, a specialist at the Icelandic Met Office says it is a possibility both by Þorbjörn Mountain as well as by Fagradalsfjall, the area where the last three eruptions on Reykjanes occurred.

Earthquakes and uplift (land rise) have occurred before all three recent eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula, the most recent eruption occurring just last summer. On October 24, an earthquake swarm began northwest of Grindavík, where uplift of 3 cm is now being detected. Strong earthquakes have continued at the site, with an earthquake above M4 felt across the capital area at noon yesterday.

Although experts now say magma is collecting below the site, it will not necessarily lead to an eruption. Benedikt Ófeigsson, a coordinator at the Icelandic Met Office, says an eruption could also still occur at Fagradalsfjall. “We cannot write off Fagradalsfjall immediately,” Benedikt told RÚV. “We are still seeing deformation (uplift) there and it could just as well be that the next eruption will occur there, but we are monitoring both places now.”

While there are no indications that an eruption is imminent, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared an uncertainty phase on the Reykjanes peninsula. Experts have stated that the recent eruptions on Reykjanes indicate the start of a period of volcanic activity that could last decades or centuries. None of the three recent eruptions have impacted inhabited areas or infrastructure.

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