MET Office Preparing to Declare Formal End of Eruption

Protective barrriers in Reykjanes

The Icelandic Meteorological Office is preparing to declare the eruption in the Reykjanes peninsula formally over, Fréttablaðið reports. No lava has flowed from craters in the area since September 18.

The longest eruption of the 21st century

On September 16, the volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes peninsula overtook the Holuhraun eruption to become Iceland’s longest-lasting eruption of the 21st century. Two days later, however, lava stopped flowing from the craters; there has been no volcanic activity since.

In late November, the National Police Commissioner – in consultation with the Reykjanes Peninsula Police Commissioner – lowered the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Response’s Readiness level from “Alert” to “Uncertainty.” On December 3, the uncertainty phase was lifted.

According to Fréttablaðið, the Icelandic Meteorological Office is now preparing to announce a formal end to the eruption, which began on March 19 of this year. As noted in the article, such a declaration is somewhat unusual.

The Reykjanes Peninsula is still active

Despite the uncertainty phase being lifted, the MET Office stressed that it would continue to monitor the Reykjanes peninsula because the region is still volcanically active. Individuals visiting the area are encouraged to be cautious. The lava may still be hot and gas pollution remains a  threat.

“It can take a significant time for the lava to cool. The surface and the craters are still unstable; craters may collapse, fissures may form. Furthermore, gas pollution is expected to continue, which is hazardous to visitors of the area.”