Iceland. Volcano eruption. The endangered city of Grindavik. The lava reaches the buildings


A volcano erupted on the Icelandic Reykjanes Peninsula on Sunday morning. Photos and recordings show fountains of lava gushing from cracks in the ground and clouds of smoke rising. Residents of the town of Grindavik, who had to leave their homes as a result of the December eruption, were evacuated again. The lava reached the buildings and the flames covered several buildings. Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir called January 14 “a dark day in the country’s history.”

The eruption occurred after a series of earthquakes north of the city of Grindavik. On the night from Saturday to Sunday, over a hundred residents who returned home after the previous eruption were evacuated. The town, inhabited by about four thousand people, is partially without electricity and water pipes are damaged.

Lava near the city of Grindavik

– A volcanic fissure has opened, lava is flowing several hundred meters north of the city (Grindavik) and flowing towards it, said Kristin Jonsdottir, an expert on natural hazards from the Icelandic Institute of Meteorology (IMO), in the morning. A new crack appeared in the afternoon. Its length is estimated at 150 meters.

Iceland’s public broadcaster RUV published photos showing a stream of lava destroying a housing estate. Three buildings went up in flames. Cars are left on the property.

A nearby tourist attraction – the Blue Lagoon swimming pool – and access roads were closed.

“A black day in the history of the country”

A press conference was held in the evening. Víðir Reynisson, police chief, said that this was the most serious destruction caused by a volcano in Iceland since 1973.

– Today’s events will be remembered for a long time. We are probably just witnessing the beginning of a chain of events that will continue, Reynisson said.

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir called January 14 “a dark day in the country’s history.”

Iceland volcanoANTON BRINK/PAP/EPA

“No lives are in danger, although infrastructure may be at risk,” Iceland’s president Gudni Johannesson wrote on social media. He added that there were no disruptions to air traffic.

A month after the previous eruption

The previous eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula occurred on December 18 and was preceded by a series of seismic shocks that lasted for weeks. A several-kilometer-long fissure was formed, from which lava flowed out. The eruption itself did not threaten the town of Grindavik because the lava did not flow towards it, but earlier, as a result of strong earthquakes, there was serious damage to roads and infrastructure. In recent weeks, authorities have built earth and rock barriers to prevent lava from entering.

In Grindavik, rescuers ended an unsuccessful search operation for a worker who fell into a volcanic fissure on Wednesday while working to fill the crack. It was deemed that everything had been done to save the man.

Iceland. Volcano eruptionReuters

PAP,, Reuters, RUV, BBC

Main photo source: ANTON BRINK/PAP/EPA

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