Volcanic Eruption in Iceland Likely in the Next Few Hours | Live Web Feed

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Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

There are strong signs that magma is about to break through the ground on the Reykjanes Peninsula in a volcanic eruption.

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  • Cover photo: The 2014 Holuhraun eruption. Photo: jmarti20 from Pixabay

Earthquakes & Volcanic Eruptions

Snow-covered Mt. Keilir on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula.
Mt. Keilir. Photo: Soffia S via Wikimedia C.C.

For a week now, earthquakes have rocked the Reykjanes Peninsula and Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavík. A majority of these quakes originated near Mt. Keilir on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 24 km (15 mi) from the city. Now it looks like these earthquakes were a sign of a volcanic eruption.

A road in Iceland from above.
Cover photo: Guillaume Closset

At around 2:20 PM (GMT), the Icelandic Met Office sent out an announcement stating that seismographs have detected turbulence in the ground south of the mountain Keilir. Earthquake turbulence is when many small quakes become one continuous wave. In the past, this has been an indicator that an eruption is imminent.

Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson said in an interview with the Icelandic news outlet, Vísir, that this turbulence is a strong indication that magma is on the move. However, he says that there is no guarantee that it will break through the ground. The situation will be clearer in the next few hours.

How Dangerous is the Situation?

Hiking in the Icelandic Highlands
Photo: NordicSoul Iceland

Iceland’s Chief of Police said in a press conference at 4 PM today that there is no immediate danger.

A helicopter is flying over the area, and there are still no signs of magma breaking through. Scientists are also relying on satellite imagery to determine possible directions the lava might flow; currently, it looks like it will head in a direction away from any settlement.

Icelandic horses grazing in the countrysiden the
Photo: NordicSoul Iceland

Iceland is a volcanically active land, which means scientists are always monitoring possible eruption zones. In October of 2020, another swarm of earthquakes occurred on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Since then, the area has been under special observation. The magma’s behaviour is fitting nicely into the scientists’ probability models. 

The type of eruption possible on the Reykjanes Peninsula is a lava eruption. That means that the magma usually flows slowly from an opening and not in an explosive eruption. Previous eruptions in the area have always been small, and there is no indication this one will be any different….if it even happens at all. The chances of gas pollution are also minimal.

Live Web Feed from Mt. Keilir

Below is a live web feed from South Iceland’s news outlet, Víkurfréttir of the mountain Keilir. Just south of it is the potential eruption zone.

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