Iceland: Volcano erupts again – lava causes house fires

World events Iceland

Volcano erupts again – lava causes house fires, a 51-year-old is missing

Volcanic eruption in Iceland

A photo taken from a Coast Guard helicopter shows the lava from the volcano’s eruption

Source: dpa/Uncredited

Flames, smoke and lava: The small town of Grindavik had to be evacuated again. At least two houses were caught in the lava.

Dhe residents of the Icelandic fishing town of Grindavik cannot rest: almost a month after a first volcanic eruption, the Icelandic Meteorological Agency IMO reported a new eruption with flames, smoke and lava north of Grindavik on Sunday morning. The town of 4,000 residents had already been evacuated on Sunday night when another series of earthquakes was announced on the Reykjanes Peninsula southwest of Reykjavik.

The eruption finally began at 7:57 a.m. (local time) in the morning, when the first lava bubbled out of an elongated fissure in the earth a few hundred meters north of Grindavík.

Just a few hours later, a veritable sea of ​​lava had formed in the area, glowing glowing red in the dawn. After a helicopter flyover at RÚV in the morning, volcano expert Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson estimated that the crack in the earth had grown to a length of a good kilometer.

Volcano eruption in Reykjanes Peninsula

Glowing lava fountains could be seen near the settlement

Source: via REUTERS


A thick cloud of ash hung over the region in the morning


This lava was already threateningly close to Grindavík. “Lava is now flowing towards the city,” warned the Icelandic weather authority Vedurstofa. The authorities called on people not to think about hiking to the lava. At the edge of the glowing lava, work machines that had been used to build systems to protect the coastal town from the lava were removed.

Then the earth opened up in another place in the midday hours – directly on the northern outskirts of Grindavík. From there, the glowing red lava moved down the valley before it caught at least two houses, which then burst into flames. Since the place had been evacuated, there was no danger to human life – but there was a danger to the belongings of the affected residents.

Worker missing – probably fell into a crack

Grindavík is located around 40 kilometers southwest of Reykjavik. The place had already been affected by the last eruption in mid-December – although not by the lava, but by several earthquakes that had announced the eruption. The quakes caused deep cracks in roads and other damage. A 51-year-old worker who was trying to close a crack in a garden and disappeared when the earth suddenly opened up beneath him has been missing since Wednesday in Grindavik. He fell more than 30 meters. The intensive search for him was interrupted on Friday because the situation on site became too dangerous. According to Grindavik Mayor Fannar Jonasson, the cracks that appeared after the new volcanic eruption are also a cause for concern. But there is “nothing we can do,” he told broadcaster RUV.


It is the fifth volcanic eruption in Iceland in two years


This time too, the weather authority recorded an intense series of earthquakes with more than 200 tremors before the eruption. The agency warned that magma was moving beneath the Earth’s surface and the likelihood of an eruption was high.

The last time an eruption occurred in the area was in the late evening of December 18th, when lava initially bubbled out of a fissure in the earth several kilometers long. However, the eruption significantly decreased in intensity within a few days. Before Christmas, liquid lava was no longer visible on the earth’s surface. The residents of Grindavík were ultimately able to spend the holidays in their own four walls – but with the constant uncertainty that the earth beneath them had not come to rest.

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