Get 40% Off
🚨 Volatile Markets? Find Hidden Gems for Serious OutperformanceFind Stocks Now

Iceland volcano recedes after 'black day' of town fires

Published 01/15/2024, 04:29 AM
Updated 01/15/2024, 10:07 PM
© Reuters. A volcano spews lava and smoke as it erupts in Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, January 14, 2024. Iceland Civil Protection/Handout via REUTERS

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - A volcano that erupted in southwest Iceland for the second time in less than a month appeared to be significantly less active on Monday despite indications of magma still flowing underground.

"A black day" read the front page headline of Icelandic daily Morgunbladid across an image of bright-orange lava fountains and houses burning in the town of Grindavik, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of the capital Reykjavik.

Although volcanic activity has eased since Sunday, the eruption centres is a high-risk area and new fissures could open without warning, the Icelandic Metrological Office said.

"It is difficult to estimate how long this eruption will last," it said in a statement.

Molten lava flows reached the outskirts of Grindavik around noon on Sunday, setting three houses alight, although the town had been evacuated earlier and there was no immediate danger to people.

The crack in the earth's surface that opened close to Grindavik on Sunday was no longer active on Monday, and lava production from the larger fissure north of the town was decreasing, vulcanologist Rikke Pedersen told Reuters.

"Activity has dropped significantly overnight," she said.

GPS measurements showed that magma continued to move in a southern area of the corridor beneath the town, the Metrological Office said, adding that new cracks might appear within Grindavik in the next few days.

It was the second eruption on the peninsula of Reykjanes in four weeks and the fifth since 2021.

Live video footage on Monday showed glimpses of orange lava still flowing to the surface but in smaller volumes, and further away from the town.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

"Unfortunately (the lava) went a little bit more south than we had hoped for," Vidir Reynisson, head of Iceland's Civil Protection and Emergency Management, told a press conference late on Sunday.

Nevertheless, defensive barriers built to the north of Grindavik had helped divert the flows of lava to the west, away from the town, Reynisson said.

Residents of Grindavik, a town of some 4,000 people before it was evacuated in November, said it was difficult to watch televised images of the fires.

"This is serious, it's basically as bad as it can possibly get. Although it might get even worse, who knows?" evacuated resident Jon Gauti Dagbjartsson said late on Sunday.

"I actually live in the house that I was born in and it's a tough thought to think that this town might be over, and I would have to start all over somewhere else. But if that's the case, then that's exactly what we'll do."

The Icelandic government was to meet on Monday to decide on support for the people of Grindavik. "We need to put a lot of extra efforts into finding more housing, suitable housing," Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.