What we know so far about the volcano eruption in Iceland

What we know so far about the volcano eruption in Iceland

Volcanic Eruption in Southwest Iceland: Unfolding Events and Impacts

A volcanic eruption occurred in southwestern Iceland on Monday night, north of Grindavik, a fishing town on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The eruption was anticipated for weeks due to increased seismic activity in the region. This event provides insights into how the eruption unfolded, its expected impacts, and the broader context of volcanic activity in Iceland.

Eruption Details

The eruption commenced at around 10:20 p.m. local time with a series of small earthquakes, followed by lava pouring out of a 2.5-mile-long fissure. The initial eruption saw lava temperatures reaching 1,200 degrees Celsius. The Icelandic Meteorological Office estimated that hundreds of cubic meters of lava per second flowed out in the first two hours, subsiding significantly by Tuesday afternoon.

Anticipation and Evacuations

Scientists had been monitoring the region for weeks, expecting the eruption. Authorities evacuated Grindavik in November after thousands of small earthquakes occurred over a two-week period, indicating the movement of magma toward the surface.

Potential Impact on Flights

While the eruption is larger than recent ones, experts believe it is unlikely to disrupt air travel significantly. Unlike the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption, which caused widespread flight cancellations due to ash clouds, the current eruption’s location and characteristics suggest a lower risk of such disruptions.

Potential Impacts and Air Quality

The eruption is not expected to reach Grindavik or key infrastructure, but scientists warn of uncertainties. Evacuated residents await further information on when they can return home. The molten lava’s sulfur dioxide content may impact air quality in the region, with gas pollution potentially reaching Reykjavik.

Frequency of Volcanic Activity in Iceland

Iceland is highly volcanically active, with 32 active volcanic sites. The country experiences eruptions every four to five years on average, but the frequency has increased since 2021. Iceland’s unique geological setting, situated on the mid-Atlantic ridge and a volcanic hotspot, contributes to its dynamic volcanic activity.


The recent volcanic eruption in Iceland highlights the ongoing geological processes shaping the region. While scientists and authorities anticipated the event, uncertainties remain regarding its duration and potential impacts. As Iceland continues to navigate its dynamic geological landscape, this eruption provides valuable insights into volcanic monitoring, preparedness, and the coexistence of communities with volcanic activity.