Volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, but no impact on air traffic

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On 19 March, at around 20:45 UTC, a volcanic eruption began at Geldingadalur, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland. The eruption was first seen on a web camera positioned close the mountain. It was also confirmed on thermal satellite imagery.

The eruption site is in a valley, about 4.7 km inland from the southern coast of the peninsula. The coastal town of Grindavík is the populated region closest to the eruption site, located approximately 10 km to the southwest.

The eruption is considered small at this stage and the eruptive fissure is appr. 500 – 700 m long. The area of the lava is covering an area that is appr. 500 m wide and considered less than 1 km². Lava fountains are small and lava flows are currently a very local hazard. The seismic activity is minor and spread around the Fagradalsfjall area.

The aviation colour code for Keflavik international airport has been lowered to orange as there is no indication of production of ash and tephra and no imminent hazard for aviation.

The airport tweeted that flights are operating as per schedule.

Volcanic gas (SO2) has been detected at the source of the eruption. A model for gas dispersion can be seen on the IMO web site. Currently, gas pollution is not expected to cause much discomfort for people except close up to the source of the eruption. Gas emissions will be monitored closely.

The area of the eruption is considered very dangerous – the eruption site can change without notice and put people at risk unexpectedly.

Reykjanesbraut – the main road from the capital region to Reykjanesbær and the international airport at Keflavík is open. However, Suðurstrandarvegur – the road along the south coastline of Reykjanes peninsula is closed between the two coastal towns Grindavík and Þorlákshöfn. Other roads and unpaved tracks in the vicinity of the eruption site are also closed.

Source: en.vedur.is (Icelandic Met Office)

Video by artist Odee, CEO and Founder of MOM air

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