Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is under threat of gas pollution following a volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula. The eruption, which occurred late Monday, follows weeks of intense earthquakes and tremors in the region.
Approximately 4,000 people were evacuated last month from Grindavik, a fishing town threatened by the lava flow. The eruption is visible from Reykjavik, located about 42 km northeast of Grindavik.
Gas emissions from the volcano are expected to reach Reykjavik by Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. While experts don’t anticipate travel disruptions similar to the 2010 volcanic eruption, the Icelandic government assured that there were no flight disruptions, and international flight corridors remained open.
The eruption was preceded by weeks of heightened seismic activity around Reykjavik, raising concerns. Authorities had evacuated Grindavik last month, anticipating a significant event.
The Icelandic Met Office reported that the power of the eruption was decreasing by Tuesday afternoon. However, gas emissions from the volcano still pose a potential threat to Reykjavik.
Residents near Grindavik witnessed the eruption, describing scenes as “crazy” and “scary.” The length of the volcanic crack is about 3.5 km, with lava flowing at a rate of 100 to 200 cubic meters per second, exceeding recent eruptions in the Reykjanes peninsula.
The eruption started a few kilometers from Grindavik, the town evacuated in November due to a seismic swarm. The government assured the eruption did not present a threat to life, and there were no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland.
While the length of the crack increased, lava flows appeared to be moving away from Grindavik, offering hope for the town’s residents. Authorities urged people to stay away from the eruption site, emphasizing the potential hazards.
Iceland, known for its volcanic activity, has experienced several eruptions in recent years. The Reykjanes peninsula, in particular, has been a hotspot for seismic events. The latest eruption, while spectacular, has triggered concerns about air quality and potential impacts on travel in the region.