Iceland's hottest natural wonder
A geologist's paradise, a photographer's dreamland, an oasis for an avid adventurer...or simply "the land of fire and ice"? This time it's fire for sure! With the latest volcanic eruption, Iceland once again reminds us of its mighty nature powers and puts a steaming hot spot on the world map.
Eruption in southwestern Iceland
March 19 was seemingly an ordinary Friday before the news started spreading late in the evening that an eruption is starting on the Reykjanes peninsula. The fact was confirmed very soon by the local authorities as many locals rushed in their cars to gaze at the red glowing night sky.
Soon after it started, the eruption was categorized as small and not posing any immediate threat. The local geophysicists say that the eruption is in the best possible location – isolated in a distant valley surrounded by the mountainous Icelandic terrain.
Eruption site on March 20, 2021.
Photo by Vilhelm Gunnarsson.
In a way, this eruption puts many locals' minds at ease. Southwestern Iceland has been experiencing many earthquakes in the past weeks, but the seismic activity seems to be steadily going down since the eruption.
Described as "small and beautiful", this nature's spectacle has already attracted thousands of locals excited about possibly once in a lifetime show. It's an extraordinary experience to witness this one-of-a-kind event but, like any other volcanic eruption, it has to be taken with caution, especially when visiting the site.
Thanks to, RÚV, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, the so-far-away eruption is so close at the same time. You can watch the eruption site in real-time online from the comfort of your home. Enjoy the mesmerizing daytime views of the lava streams constantly changing the face of the Geldingadalir valley. Or admire the night views of the glowing lava rivers creating a spectacular light show.
Fresh Icelandic lava.
Photo by Vilhelm Gunnarsson.
Yet another tongue twister?
The pronunciation of some Icelandic names can be a pickle to non-Icelandic speakers. The eruption was soon followed by speculations about what name will be added to the list of the previous eruptions. Some were smirking – is it another Fimmvörðuháls, Eyjafjallajökull, or Holuhraun that foreign reporters struggle to pronounce on the news? After some discussion, it seems the name that everyone is settling for is Geldingadalagos.
A few facts
- Geldingadalagos – the latest eruption – is the first volcanic eruption in Iceland in 6 years and the first one in the Reykjanes peninsula in the last 800 years.
- Currently, lava flows from the crater at a rate of 5-10 m3 (1320-2641 gallons) per second.
- The eruption is situated in the Geldingadalir valley next to Mt. Fagradalsfjall. The location has been compared to a massive bathtub that lava can slowly pour into.
- No one knows how long it will last. The eruption could end today, tomorrow, in a week's time, after a month or even later.
This eruption is not an ash eruption and therefore does not affect our flight operations, and we hope that will continue to be the case. We follow the situation closely and are in contact with the local authorities and experts monitoring the area.
At the same time, we stress the importance of staying calm and remind our passengers about our flexible booking policies if they wish to make changes to their travel plans. There is no indication that the eruption poses a risk to people, property, or air traffic.
Also, as for now, our passengers on certain routes can enjoy the eruption site's unique views when arriving and departing from Keflavík international airport.
Watch nature's force at play:
Banner photo by Vilhelm Gunnarsson.