Drone footage of new eruption in Iceland

A new volcanic eruption began at 22:17 UTC on December 18, 2023, in Reykjanes, Iceland, near the town of Grindavik.

The eruptive fissure is located about 4 km (2.5 miles) northeast of Grindavik, on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula. The eruptive fissure, approximately 4 km in length, stretches from east of Stóra-Skógfell to near Sundhnúkur. This event was preceded by an earthquake swarm beginning at 21:00 UTC.

Aerial observations and seismic data as of 02:10 UTC on December 19 indicated the fissure’s expansion southward. Officials have warned that this eruption, located on a dyke intrusion formed in November, is larger and not as accessible to tourists compared to the 2021 Fagradalsfjall eruption.

YouTube video

The latest update from the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) at 18:30 UTC on December 18 reported that the eruption’s intensity is diminishing. Aerial images show three active vents southeast of Stóra-Skógfell, with lava primarily flowing east and a secondary flow to the west. Since the eruption’s onset, around 320 earthquakes have been recorded, including a M4.1 quake. Seismic activity decreased significantly after midnight, with only 10 earthquakes recorded since noon.

Following the eruption at Sundhnúksgíga, land in Svartsengi subsided by over 5 cm (2 inches), reversing some of the 35 cm (14 inches) rise since November 10. The potential for new vents along the original fissure or further north or south remains high. With a short warning time observed for new vent openings, authorities remain vigilant.

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