Note: Though this particular eruption is relatively stable compared to others around the globe, officials continually monitored this area for safety and toxic gas exposure. Spectators should not get this close to an active volcano without proper equipment and expert guidance.
On March 20th, 2021, Valur Grettisson, editor-in-chief of the alt newspaper The Reykjavík Grapevine, hiked up to Iceland’s new newsmaking volcano as it erupted in Fagradalsfjall. He makes his way toward the newly named Geldingadalur volcano’s small but significant lavaflow in the video above.
Located around 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city, the relatively small fissure was close enough for curious locals, sightseers, and reporters to hike in for a perilous view.
On the following day, the Icelandic Met Office reported that “weather, wind direction and pollutants (such as SO2 and CO2) from the volcanic eruption all affect the strength and distribution of the gas pollution.” Higher gas emissions have since closed this area.
The Krysuvik volcanic system has been inactive for the past 900 years, according to the meteorological office, while the last eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula dates back almost 800 years to 1240.
But the region has been under increased surveillance for several weeks after an earthquake of magnitude 5.7 was registered on 24 February on the outskirts of Reykjavik, followed by an unusual number of smaller tremors – more than 50,000, the highest number since digital recordings began in 1991.
Located between the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates, among the largest on the planet, Iceland is a seismic and volcanic hotspot as the two plates move in opposite directions.
The source of the eruption is a large body of molten rock, known as magma, which has pushed its way to the surface over the past weeks, instigating the earthquakes.
Watch these related volcano videos next:
• Volcanic Eruptions 101: How It Happens
• Volcano Summer Camp
• Flying over Yasur Volcano as it erupts
• Time-lapse eruption videos of Chile’s Calbuco Volcano
• How USGS scientists monitor Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions
Bonus: Geothermal energy in Iceland.