Iceland Volcanic Eruption Sends Lava Into Local Town, Setting Houses on Fire

In the morning of Sunday, January 14, the Earth opened up again in the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland. A new eruption took place in the active region, and this time the lava reached the town of Grindavík. After the eruption of last month, defenses were built to direct the lava flow away from the town, which was evacuated in November. A new fissure opened up beyond the barriers and the lava reached the town, setting some houses alight.

The lava as it reached the town of Grindavík
Image courtesy of the Icelandic Coast Guard

“The southern most part of the fissure is about 900m [2,953 feet] from the town of Grindavík. The opening is south of lava flow deflection barriers that are being built north of Grindavík. Lava is now flowing towards the town,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a statement yesterday morning.

Gas flowing from the eruption was blown towards the sea, which was at least a silver lining. The experts believe that the magma dike intrusion responsible for these eruptions moved underneath the town of Grindavík. It is believed that existing faults and fractures in the town were reactivated and new faults likely formed as the intrusion propagated underground.

The eruption as seen from over the blue lagoon
Image courtesy of the Icelandic Coast Guard

This region has been the center of volcanic activity since 2021 after laying dormant for six millennia. With the latest one, there have been five eruptions in the Reykjanes Peninsula. The amount of magma in the intrusion had scientists worried that the region was just getting started and this new eruption is proving their concerns were correct.

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