Icelandic Volcano Explodes, Creating Rivers of Lava

Ever since a massive eruption on May 29th, lava has been spurting from a volcano system on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula.

After being evacuated on many occasions since the eruptions in the area started in December, the settlement of Grindavik is now again in danger. Additionally, the renowned geothermal Blue Lagoon spa had no choice but to shut down.

Volcanic activity, however, is believed to have subsided considerably after the first eruption.

Icelandic Meteorological Office reports that the most recent eruption of the Sundhnukur crater, which had been dormant for 800 years, was the most violent in the region since the Reykjanes peninsula’s volcanic systems erupted three years ago.

Following Wednesday’s enormous display,  the activity had allegedly subsided somewhat as of late Thursday. However, on Friday, officials remained on high alert in case there were any other volcanic eruptions.

The eruption that began on Wednesday has delivered record quantities of lava nearby. A 1.6-mile-long crack has also opened up.

Outside of Grindavik, protective barriers diverted the lava flow, but the abandoned town was still without power, and the molten rock flooded two of the three entrance routes.

The adjacent international airport has remained operating, and no volcanic activity has yet affected aviation.

A volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic causes Iceland to suffer eruptions on a regular basis.  In 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, sending massive ash clouds into the sky and forcing several European countries to close their airspace.

Officials said on June 2nd that the volcano had calmed after its eruption four days earlier, allowing the famed Blue Lagoon geothermal spa—one of the top tourist attractions in southwest Iceland—to reopen to the public.

Hundreds of sightseers took a dip in the lagoon as they watched the crater explode behind them.

According to Oddný Arnarsdóttir, CEO of Visit Iceland, authorities had rearranged the town’s security boundaries. Tourism resumed, and the Blue Lagoon could be safely reopened to visitors.