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Volcanic eruption: what we know so far

19.03.2021 - 23:29
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Veðurstofa Íslands
A volcanic eruption has begun in the region of Fagradalsfjall mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula. It is at Geldingadalir, around the centre of the magma intrusion dyke that has formed under the peninsula over recent weeks.
  • The eruption appears to be small and no ash fall has been reported at this time. The glow of the molten lava can be seen over a wide area, however, and photographs have been taken of it as far away as Hafnarfjörður and Þorlákshöfn. 
  • The eruption is at Geldingadalir, which is further north than the location scientists predicted a possible eruption earlier this week. 
  • Its location does not pose any immediate danger to infrastructure, but people in Þorlákshöfn are being advised to stay indoors with windows closed and radiators turned up as a precaution against volcanic gases. Þorlákshöfn is the closest community downwind this evening. Nearer Grindavík is upwind. 
  • A narrow tongue of lava is flowing south-south-west and another to the west. The fissure is around 500-700 metres long. The eruption started very quietly, with no tremor. The Met Office became aware of the eruption because people reported its glow. The first report came at 21.20. 
  • The Met Office has now put the official start time of Geldingadalsgos (as the eruption is being called) at 20.45.
  • Geldingadalir may not have been mentioned much in coverage of events in recent weeks, but it lies east of Fagradalsfjall and is close to Stóri-hrútur, over the very centre of the magma dyke that has been forming under the ground. 
  • People are urged to stay away from the area. The closest roads are closed and there is little to see. Gas could be dangerous, however.
  • Civil protection police chief Víðir Reynisson says the eruption bears no similarity to the explosive Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 and that Keflavík International Airport remains open at this time. He says authorities are monitoring the area closely but have been well prepared for this situation. Extra gas monitors are being set up in the area.
  • The no-fly zone over the volcano does not cover Keflavík International Airport, which remains open as usual. A plane from Poland landed before midnight and is preparing to leave again for Warsaw at 01.10.
  • Geldingadalir is considered a very good location for a small eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula, from the point of view of any potential danger to infrastructure in the area.
  • The eruption is not producing a large amount of gas at this time, but could cause problems for people with respiratory problems. The capital region could be affected by some of the sulphur dioxide gas tomorrow night, according to current weather forecasts.
  • RÚV English will provide further coverage over the weekend, on and Facebook. Further details are also available, with updates around the clock on

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