There’s an eruption in the Reykjanes peninsula!
Don’t worry, we’re fine. The eruption is far enough from inhabited areas that it doesn’t pose a threat to towns or cities. In fact, it’s being called a tourist eruption, everyone who owns a pair of hiking boots is going up there to see it!
The lava erupting from the ground is impressive but it isn’t flowing very fast. When people hear about an eruption in Iceland, many think back to the infamous 2010 eruption in Eyjafjallajökull which stopped all air traffic due to the amount of ash it produced. The difference is that this eruption isn’t coming from underneath a glacier. When lava erupts from the ground and the first thing it touches is ice or melted water, it explodes in steamy puffs of ash and rocks. That isn’t happening now so the airlines can breathe a little easier.
We don’t know how long the eruption will last. Geologists’ first estimate was that it might even be over in a few hours or days but it’s still going at a steady rate. For how much longer, we don’t know.
The most amazing thing about the eruption, aside from the red-hot lava continuously flowing from deep inside the earth’s womb, is that there hasn’t been an eruption in this area since 1240 AD. Geologists are waiting to see what happens next but this could mark a new chapter in volcanic activity in the Reykjanes peninsula.
At the moment, not everyone can come to Iceland but locals are using the opportunity to go see the eruption. Even though the eruption isn’t threatening inhabited areas, that doesn’t mean that it’s harmless. An eruption like this produces toxic gases, completely colour-and odourless. If there isn’t enough wind to disperse them safely, the heavy gasses can gather in depressions and hollows and they can be very harmful to hikers or livestock, even fatal. If you’re currently in Iceland and want to go see the eruption, be sure to check out the latest information on weather and conditions at The Met Office’s website or the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Response’s website.