Iceland evacuates Blue Lagoon and Grindavík amid intense seismic swarm, fear of new eruption

reykjanes peninsula iceland satellite image of lava field north of grindavik on march 2 2024 f

Iceland evacuated its world-famous Blue Lagoon and the nearby town of Grindavík in Reykjanes Peninsula on Saturday, March 2, 2024, due to an intense seismic swarm indicating a new fissure eruption could start any moment.

At 17:30 UTC on March 2, the Icelandic Met Office (IMO) reported an intense swarm of microseismic activity started east of Sýlingarfell on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

“The seismicity indicates that magma movements have begun and that a fissure eruption is likely, IMO said. “The seismicity began at the southern end of the fissure that formed on December 18, 2023. As of 17:30 UTC, it is apparent that the seismic activity has moved southwards in the direction of Hagafell. Real-time, GPS-based measurements show much less signs of deformation than before previous eruptions since December 2023. This could signify that less magma is on the move than before the previous three eruptions on Sundhnúkur crater row. At present, the depth of the seismicity does not indicate that magma is propagating to the surface.”

A subsequent update at 19:10 UTC on the same day noted the seismic activity stopped, although minor deformation continues, leaving the possibility of an eruption uncertain.

“Due to increased seismic activity in a known area, a few kilometers away from Blue Lagoon, and our unwavering commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our valued guests and staff, we initiated an evacuation of our premises today,” Blue Lagoon management said. “As a result, all our operations will remain closed for the remainder of today, Saturday, March 2, and tomorrow, Sunday, March 3, at which time the situation will be reassessed.”

Public broadcaster RUV reported the nearby town of Grindavík was also evacuated. Police said the evacuation was ‘going well’ and there had been only a few people in the town in recent days.

On Sunday, March 3, IMO said the activity could escalate again and magma may also reach the surface without significant seismicity.


1 Indications That the Magma Intrusion Has Stopped – Too early to declare that there will be no eruption at this time – IMO – March 2, 2024

2 Small tremors are not signs of significant changes – RUV – March 3, 2024


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