Reykjanes Eruption Now Confined to a Single Crater Skip to content
Lava and plumes from the May 2024 eruption in Reykjanes
Photo: Art Bicnick.

Reykjanes Eruption Now Confined to a Single Crater

The eruption at Sundhnúkagígaröð has now consolidated into a single active crater, with lava flows posing little risk to infrastructure, Vísir reports. Initial GPS data suggests that land subsidence in the Svartsengi area may have ceased, indicating ongoing magma accumulation.

A week since the eruption began

The eruption that began at the Sundhnúkagígaröð on the Reykjanes peninsula on May 29 has now lasted for seven days.

After a relatively powerful start, the activity reduced to three craters, which remained active over the past weekend. As noted by the Icelandic Meteorological Office, however, changes in volcanic activity occurred on the night before Tuesday; only one crater appears to be active. The active crater is located near the one that erupted the longest in the eruption that started on March 16 and ended on May 9.

In an interview with yesterday, Elísabet Pálmadóttir, a natural hazards specialist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, stated that the eruption was stable: “The volcanic tremor has remained largely unchanged, and the activity, which now simmers in this one active crater, is stable.”

Little risk to infrastructure

Lava flows from the active crater are heading northwest towards Mt. Sýlingarfell and along its northern side. Active lava streams are also moving south towards Hagafell. The Icelandic MET Office notes that the lava flow towards the southeast in the direction of Fiskidalsfjall has decreased since the activity shifted to a single crater.

Vísir suggests that if the lava flow remains confined to this area, there seems to be little risk to infrastructure. Nonetheless, the eruption appears to be twice or even three times larger than the previous eruption at its peak, as well as the eruptions at Fagradalsfjall.

Subsidence may have ceased

Initial GPS measurements from the last 24 hours suggest that the land subsidence in Svartsengi may have stopped, RÚV reports. The Meteorological Office cautions that it is too early to confirm this and is waiting for more data from GPS measurements.

If the land in Svartsengi has started to rise again, it indicates that magma is continuing to accumulate. This suggests that the amount of magma being released in the current eruption is now less than the rate at which it is accumulating. As a result, magma is building up beneath Svartsengi rather than escaping through the active eruption site.

More information

For more information on tourist safety on the Reykjanes peninsula, see our latest In Focus Article.

“With four eruptions in the Sundhnúkagígar crater system during this spell, it’s no wonder that prospective tourists have been asking themselves if it’s still safe to visit Iceland. The short answer is ‘yes, absolutely.’ The long answer is ‘yes, but use common sense!’”

You can watch a video of our visit to the eruption area here.

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