‘Best Possible Location’ for Eruption

Vala Hafstað

The volcanic eruption that started in Geldingadalur, Fagradalsfjall mountain, on the Reykjanes peninsula, Southwest Iceland, shortly before 9:30 pm  is still very small, states Sigmundur Einarsson, geologist, mbl.is reports. It is the first eruption on the peninsula in nearly 800 years.

“This is just a small, effusive eruption,” Sigmundur states. “Lava is flowing slowly, but fissures in these kinds of eruptions are known to open and grow longer.”

The latest reports state that the fissure is now 700-meter long, located over the magma dyke that had formed.

The first pictures of the eruption were taken on board the Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter.

“The eruption is at the best possible location in terms of lava flow,” a Facebook statement from the rescue association Þorbjörn in Grindavík states. “The residents of Grindavík are not at risk. The wind direction is favorable, and the distance to the eruption is long,” the statement concludes.

There are two lava streams from the eruption. The larger one flows into Geldingadalur valley, the other one flows toward Nátthagi or Nátthagakriki, Professor Emeritus Páll Einarsson told RÚV TV. 

No inhabited areas are at risk. The public has been asked to stay home and to stay away from the area of eruption.

There is some concern about volcanic gases being carried toward the east, with the wind.

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management posted this message on Facebook an hour ago:

Volcanic gas pollution is expected to extend as far as Þorlákshöfn and to continue into the night. People are asked close windows and stay indoors. The status and amount of SO2 emissions from the eruption are being assessed.

You can follow the status of SO2 here: https://ust.is/.../air-pollution-during-a-volcanic-eruption

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