Grindavík, Iceland: A volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula has erupted for the second time this year, spewing lava into the air and causing disruption in the region. This marks the third eruption since December in the southwestern part of the country. The lava flow from cracks in the ground reached a height of 80 meters (260ft) and crossed a road near the Blue Lagoon, a popular geothermal spa that had to be closed.
The eruption also impacted the supply of hot water to over 20,000 people in the area south of Reykjavík. Thermal-based water pipes were damaged by the lava, leading to a disruption in the hot water supply. The Civil Protection Agency raised its alert level to emergency status and urged households and businesses to conserve electricity. The recovery process, including restoring hot water through an emergency pipeline, is expected to take several days.
Although the volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes peninsula is characterized as a fissure eruption, which typically does not result in large explosions or significant ash dispersal, scientists believe that these eruptions could continue for years. To mitigate potential risks, Icelandic authorities have started constructing dykes to divert lava flows away from homes and critical infrastructure.
The most recent eruption occurred in a location far from the town of Grindavík, reducing the immediate threat to the town. However, the situation remains unpredictable due to the continuous rise of land in the area caused by underground magma accumulation. Iceland has a history of volcanic activities, with more than 30 active volcanoes throughout the country. Although the volcanic systems on the Reykjanes peninsula are not expected to produce large ash clouds like the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, authorities have warned of the possibility of further eruptions in the future.
In 2010, the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull caused significant disruptions in air travel and forced evacuations in Iceland. The Reykjanes peninsula, known for its volcanoes, attracts tourists interested in volcano tourism. While the current eruption does not pose a similar threat as Eyjafjallajökull, precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of local residents and critical infrastructure.
Iceland’s President, Guðni Jóhannesson, shared an image on social media of the eruption viewed from his residence, expressing solidarity with the people of Grindavík. As the situation unfolds, the Icelandic authorities and researchers continue to monitor the volcanic activity on the Reykjanes peninsula, expecting intermittent eruptions for years to come.