Icelandic volcano erupts yet again, nearby town evacuated

Icelandic Volcano Eruption Forces Evacuation of Nearby Town

On Saturday, a new volcanic fissure erupted on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, marking the fourth eruption in the area since December, according to authorities. The Icelandic Met Office released a statement confirming that the eruption occurred between Stora Skogfell and Hagafell on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Live footage captured the scene, showing lava glowing and smoke rising into the air.

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management in Iceland dispatched a helicopter to pinpoint the precise location of this new fissure. Just minutes before the eruption, the Icelandic Met Office (IMO) had announced an increased likelihood of an eruption due to heightened seismic activity.

Local news outlets reported the commencement of evacuation procedures in the fishing town of Grindavik. Residents were alerted via text messages, urging them to evacuate swiftly. This evacuation came after the roughly 4,000 residents of Grindavik had only just been allowed to return to their homes on February 19, following a previous evacuation on November 11, 2023.

During the November evacuation, the area experienced hundreds of tremors. These tremors caused significant damage to buildings and created large cracks in the roads. A volcanic fissure erupted on December 18, fortunately sparing the village. However, in January, another fissure opened right at the edge of the town, sending lava into the streets and destroying three homes. This was followed by a third eruption near the village on February 8.

Iceland is known for its high number of active volcano systems, boasting 33, the most in Europe. The country is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. Despite this, the Reykjanes peninsula had not seen an eruption for eight centuries until March 2021. Since then, eruptions in August 2022, and July and December 2023, have led volcanologists to suggest that this could be the beginning of a new period of seismic activity in the region.