Reykjanes Peninsula Eruption Shows Signs of Longevity Skip to content

Reykjanes Peninsula Eruption Shows Signs of Longevity

By Ragnar Tómas

volcano eruption Geldingadalir Reykjanes
Photo: Photo: Golli. The Fagradalsfjall eruption site. .

The recent volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula is showing signs of longevity and stability similar to the 2021 Fagradalsfjall eruption, differing significantly from the short-lived eruptions earlier in the year. Geophysicist Benedikt Ófeigsson highlights the ongoing eruption’s potential to last for months, with efforts underway to fortify protective barriers against the lava flow towards Grindavík.

Different from the last three eruptions

The ongoing volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula, between Hagafell and Stóra-Skógfell, has begun to resemble previous, longer eruptions in Reykjanes, such as the 2021 eruption in Fagradalsfjall; despite the eruption’s initial intensity, and indications that it could be short-lived, there are currently no signs that the eruption is waning.

Benedikt Ófeigsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told Vísir yesterday that this most recent eruption appeared to be dissimilar from the last three eruptions in the area – which occurred in December 2023, January 2024, and February 2024 – and which did not last for more than three days.

“This eruption is longer, starting very similarly to the other eruptions in this area, but after it decreased, instead of stopping, it stabilised. There has been a relatively steady flow since March 17, very similar to what we’ve seen in previous eruptions near Fagradalsfjall,” Benedikt observed.

When asked if this current eruption could endure as long as the Fagradalsfjall eruption, which lasted for approximately six months, Benedikt replied in the affirmative: “[It could last for ] months even. It’s not out of the question. Currently, we see no measurable signs of it decreasing. It’s very stable, so there are no indications that it’s ending.”

Benedikt did not, however, dismiss the possibility that the eruption could suddenly cease: “We can’t exclude that possibility, but there’s nothing in our measurements that suggests it’s about to end. As long as that’s the case, we can expect it to continue for days, weeks, or even months,” he stated.

Read More: Wall of Fire (On the Construction of Protective Barriers in Reykjanes)

Barriers reinforced and raised

As noted yesterday, the lava has begun pressing against the Grindavík protective barriers, and efforts are being made to reinforce and raise them. Benedikt believes it’s possible to control the eruption with these barriers.

When asked if there was a chance that the lava would reach Grindavík, Benedikt replied that everything was being done to reinforce the barriers.

“I fully believe that attempts can be made to control this. Everything possible is being done to strengthen the barriers, raise them, and direct the lava away from the town,” he remarked. “This process occurs much more slowly when the lava flow is this low, that is, less than during the initial phase of the eruption. Naturally, this gives the authorities more time to try to prevent the lava from heading towards the town. I think everything possible is being done. Let’s just hope for the best,” Benedikt concluded.

 

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