Háskóli Íslands

The Civil Protection and Emergency Management’s Science Board warns against staying near the eruption sites – recommends that people view the eruption sites from hills around Geldingadalur.

The Civil Protection and Emergency Management’s Science Boardheld an internet meeting today to discuss the eruption in Geldingadalir. The meeting was attended by specialists from the Icelandic Met Office, the University of Iceland, ÍSOR, KAUST University, the Environment Agency of Iceland, the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, the National Land Survey of Iceland and Reykjavik Energy as well as representatives from the Directorate of Health, Isavia-ANS and HS-Orka. Processing of the latest measuring and data, which scientists at the Icelandic Met Office, the University of Iceland and ÍSOR have worked on, was reviewed.

A volcanic eruption commenced last night on a ridge which lies in Geldingardalir. The extent of the eruption is small and the activity has been rather stable today. There is not much of eruption columns from the crack and the lava flows from craters down into the valleys. Temporary results indicate that the eruption crack had originally been about 200 m long, the lava about 10-15 m thick where it is thickest and its total cubic measure has reached about 0.4 M m3. With view of the current situation the eruption is confined to a very small area down in a dell and it is highly unlikely that a lava flow will cause damage. No volcanic ash is detected from the eruption sites and a strong gas pollution due to the eruption is not expected in populated areas.   

The Science Board warns against the following risks in the vicinity of the eruption sites:

It is important to keep in mind that the vicinity of the eruption sites is a dangerous area and conditions can change quickly. The Science Board warns people about staying near the eruption sites during current conditions. The main risks in their vicinity is: 

  • New cracks may open up in the vicinity of the eruption sites without warning. 
  • Glowing lava may fall from the edge of the lava and a rapid and sudden onrush could occur where new lava tongues break through the edge of the lava which is difficult to avoid by running.  
  • The craters have now become several meters tall and may be unstable, they can break and a strong and sudden lava flow from them can take a new direction. 
  • Explosions may occur where lava flows over water-logged soil and hurl lava in all directions. 
  • The lava flows into a closed dell and life-threatening gas types may accumulate in dells, which can be fatal. The danger escalates when the wind decreases. 

The scenarios below are in effect:

  • The volcanic eruption in Geldingadalur will slowly diminish and it will cease in the coming days or weeks
  • New eruption cracks open up at the current eruption site or in the magma path in the vicinity of Fagradalsfjall 
  • Stronger quakes are less likely in the vicinity of Fagradalsfjall due to magma flow
  • An earthquake of 6.5 in magnitude will occur, originating in Brennisteinsfjöll
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