On the Friday evening of 19th of March, the locals of town Grindavík noticed a very strong flare just northeast of town. An eruption had started in Geldingadalir valleys on the east side of Mt. Fagradalsfjall.
You can say this is basically in the backyard of Grindavík but still located in the most remote place in that area.
It might sound strange but this was a big relief for the locals. Before this event, an earthquake swarm had been almost non-stop for 3 weeks. Measuring often around 2.000 earthquakes per day and some quite big so people were getting much affected by them, some even that strong that they woke people up during nights.
The last days before the eruption the earthquake activity had slowed down a lot, and then this happened.
All this activity on the peninsula is because the Mid-Atlantic ridge runs through the area. Making the landscape very much alive and moving. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is located on the boundaries between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
What makes this so unique is that the Mt. Fagradalsfjall volcanic system has not erupted in about 6.000 years. And on the Reykjanes peninsula, there has not been an eruption in about 800 years. This makes the event very exciting for researchers and the whole nation.
Since the beginning of the eruption, people have been hiking up to the eruption to witness it. Some have even gone there a couple of times.
Looking at the data from the eruption, mineral proportion from the lava, and such, researchers are expecting a long-lasting event. Data is telling us that most likely we are looking at a shield volcano in making, and those events are known to be very long-lasting. When we say long-lasting, we are talking years and even decades.
On the 5th and then again on the 6th of April two new eruptions have started in that same area, about 500m between cracks. So this is a very much ongoing event that is keeping us Icelanders on the edge of our seats, not because of danger but because of pure interest and love for our very much alive island.
Why not book a tour to Iceland and visit this amazing site in the company of one of our very capable guides and drivers?
A hike to the eruption site and a relaxing stop at the Blue Lagoon afterward. Sounds like the perfect day to us !! ?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put up a tour of a lifetime here in Iceland.
P.s. we will try to update this article as the event evolves.
P.p.s. (13th of April) as this post was being finalized two new craters are starting to form. So as you can see this is evolving very fast.
Update 20.04. The two northernmost craters have now turned off. You can say it happened when celebrating 1 month birthday of the eruption. At the moment we are assuming there are seven craters active at the moment. Some then more active than others.