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Volcanic eruption in Reykjanes, 29 May 2024. Photo by Björn Oddsson from the civil defence department of the national commissioner in Iceland

One More Eruption in Reykjanes

A new eruption started in Reykjanes yesterday around noon, which is the eighth one in the area in just over three years. The town of Grindavík, The Blue Lagoon and the power plant at Svartsengi were evacuated and lava has flowed over two roads, Grindavíkurvegur and Nesvegur. Activity reduced greatly yesterday afternoon and so far, toxic gas from the eruption has been minimal. The direct effects of this eruption are limited to the local area in Reykjanes around Grindavík and the Blue Lagoon but the rest of Iceland is safe.

Unfortunately, media coverage internationally has in many cases dramatized events around the eruptions, making more people scared of travelling to Iceland in the past few years. A good friend of mine abroad sent me a message yesterday to ask whether temperature had increased, whether I could feel the heat and whether I could hear noises. She had just read this story on BBC which only informed readers of the more dramatic points about the event with no mention of e.g. the international airport in Keflavik and the capital area being safe. I answered no to all three questions and explained that it is mainly affecting the immediate local surroundings of the eruption. This is not to minimize the effect on the approximately 4000 people of Grindavík that have lost their homes since the worst of these eruptions started. Iceland is a small community that sticks together like a big family in such events, offering help to those affected.

Icelandic media in English will be a more reliable source of information on eruptions in Iceland than international media, giving a more accurate perspective of events. Iceland Review and RÚV provide local news in English about the volcanic eruptions. Safetravel is the official source for safe travel in Iceland, run by the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue.

The photo above was taken from a helicopter yesterday by Björn Oddsson from the civil defence department of the national commissioner in Iceland.

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