Iceland Declares State Of Emergency As Volcano Finally Erupts

Iceland On High Alert As volcano Erupts

Icelandic volcanic eruption. Credit: Natturuva/X

AFTER weeks of monitoring the Grindavik volcano, it finally erupted late last night, leading Iceland to declare a state of emergency.

Iceland’s president has confirmed the area has been closed off and evacuated as the country declared a state of emergency in response to the Grindavik volcano eruption. The event, which is still unfolding in the Reykjanes Peninsula, began on a Monday, December 19 at 10:17 pm, north of Grindavik.

The Icelandic Meteorological and Seismological Office (MET) confirmed the eruption near Sundhnukagigar, about four kilometres northeast of Grindavik. This alarming development follows months of seismic activity, leading to the evacuation of Iceland’s second city.

Eruption Follows Seismic Activity

The MET website detailed that a series of earthquakes starting at 9:00 pm preceded the eruption. The fissure, estimated at about 3.5 kilometres, is significantly larger than those in recent eruptions on the peninsula. Lava flow rates range between 100 and 200 cubic metres per second, marking a considerable increase.

Iceland’s President, Gudni Johannesson, took to the social media platform Twitter/X, stating, ‘An eruption has begun near the evacuated city of Grindavik. Our priorities remain protecting lives and infrastructure.

‘Civil Defence has closed the affected area. Now we wait to see what the forces of nature have in store for us. We are prepared and we remain vigilant.’

One man echoed the concerns of many by replying: ‘For tourists that are currently in Reykjavík and surrounding areas. Where can we find advice on how to proceed over the next day or two?

‘Will this have an impact on flight schedules, if so where can we get latest information please?’

Impact On Infrastructure And Air Travel

The Research Unit in Volcanology and Natural Hazards, University of Iceland posted on Twitter/X: ‘ If this eruption maintains this intensity, it will produce significant air pollution.

‘The good news are that the wind is northwesterly and according to the forecast it will stay northerly for the next few days. Hence the eruption plume is likely to be blown away from inhabited areas.’

Despite the severe nature of the eruption, Icelandic Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has assured that at the moment air travel remains unaffected. He confirmed that no flights to or from Iceland have been interrupted, and international air traffic continues as usual.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.