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The Ongoing Volcanic Unrest on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula: Eruptions in 2024

Iceland, a nation characterised by its rugged landscape and geological activity, has again captured global attention due to recent volcanic activities. Since November 2023, the region around Grindavik, part of the Reykjanes Peninsula has witnessed significant seismic events and volcanic eruptions, prompting evacuations and continuous monitoring by authorities.

Eruption in Grindavik 2024, with the volcanic crater and lava on the background
Eruption in Grindavik 2024, with the volcanic crater and lava on the background. Photo by Haffi.

Recent Eruptions from 2023

Volcanic activity has been concentrated around the Reykjanes Peninsula, a region known for its active volcanic systems. The eruptions began in late 2023, with the Svartsengi volcanic system becoming particularly active. Notable eruptions have occurred at the Sundhnúksgígaröð crater row, with ongoing eruptions characterised by lava flows and significant gas emissions.

In December 2023, a particularly violent eruption north of Sundhnúkur resulted in the evacuation of Grindavik, a nearby fishing town. Authorities quickly responded, moving residents to safety amid the looming threat of lava flows. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and local authorities have been vigilant, providing regular updates and hazard assessments​.

Evacuation and Impact on Grindavik

The evacuation process for Grindavik was extensive, involving multiple government agencies and coordinated efforts to ensure the safety of all residents. Over 4,000 people were relocated as lava flows approached the town, threatening homes and local infrastructure. Civil Protection established Emergency shelters, and the community received widespread support during these challenging times​.

Drone view of Grindavik and the lava that reached the town in February 2024.
Drone view of Grindavik and the lava that reached the town in February 2024. Photo by Haffi.

Current Conditions and Prognosis

As of the latest updates, the volcanic activity continues with varying intensity. The IMO regularly updates hazard maps, indicating areas of significant risk due to lava and gas emissions. These maps are crucial for public safety and are adjusted as conditions evolve​.

Recent measurements indicate that seismic activity, while still present, has decreased compared to the initial phases of the eruptions. However, the situation remains dynamic, with new fissures opening and lava flows redirected. This underscores the unpredictable nature of volcanic activity in the region and the need for continued vigilance​.

Fagradalsfjall Volcano and Tourism around Grindavík

Despite the challenges posed by the volcanic activity, the Fagradalsfjall area remains a popular destination for adventurous tourists. 2Go Iceland Travel offers guided hikes to the Fagradalsfjall volcano, allowing visitors to experience the majestic power of nature safely. A new tour to Grindavík called "The Lava Town" offers a clear overview of the latest eruptions and devastations over the town, with a authorised access while supporting the local business that remain in operation.These tours are conducted with strict safety measures and by guidelines from the Icelandic authorities, ensuring that the thrill of witnessing an active volcano does not compromise safety.

Grindavik town with the latest eruption in 2024.
Grindavik town with the latest eruption in 2024. Photo by Haffi.

Iceland, once more showing the world the power of nature

The volcanic activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula reminds us of Iceland's dynamic and ever-changing landscape. The proactive measures taken by the authorities exemplify effective disaster management in the face of natural calamities. As the situation evolves, staying informed through reliable sources like the Icelandic Meteorological Office and local news outlets will be crucial.

For those planning to visit or learn more about Iceland’s volcanic region, updated on the latest developments and adhering to safety guidelines are essential. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, understanding the risks and being prepared are key to safely experiencing the awe-inspiring phenomena of Iceland's volcanic activities. For more information, 2Go Iceland Travel has a group on Facebook with updates about the current volcanic eruptions, and updates from IMO Iceland.


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