The ground rumbles underfoot, then roars as orange-red lava fountains rise from the ground, and intense heat envelops the crowd impressed by the incredible phenomenon they are witnessing. In the past few hours, many have poured into the site of a new eruption of the volcanic fissure located in an uninhabited valley about 40 km from Reykjavík.
Started on Wednesday 3 August, it concerns the Fagradalsfjall volcano in southwestern Iceland, which last year erupted for a full six months. The images broadcast by Icelandic TV show the lava coming out of a rift several hundred meters long, against the backdrop of a rugged landscape.
The awakening of the Fagradalsfjall volcano
According to reports from the Icelandic authorities, the site of the eruption, located in an area of difficult access that requires a 90 minute walk, has already attracted nearly two thousand visitors on the first day of the lava’s appearance, and many curious tourists have been seen trekking in the area. This is the Meradalir valley, in Reykjanes Peninsula, the southwestern protuberance of Iceland (where you can also enter the interior of a volcano).
With a flow of 20-50 cubic meters per second, the eruption of the Fagradalsfjal volcano is expected to be five to ten times more powerful than the one that occurred in the same place last year. The phenomenon was preceded by a period of intense seismic activity, with about 10,000 earthquakes detected in the four days preceding the eruption, two of which having a magnitude of at least 5.0. The frequency of earthquakes, on the other hand, has slowed since the magma exploded in the ground.
The spectacular images circulated in the last few hours show molten lava coming out of a crack 300 meters long. However, the Icelandic Meteorological Authority has warned the population about the production of toxic gases. However, the fumes should quickly head south and towards the sea, at the moment the wind direction excludes there are towns or villages along the trajectory. In addition, ash production has so far been low or zero, and flights from the nearby Keflavík International Airport have not yet suffered any delays or cancellations.
Since the end of March 2021, Reykjavík has been shaken by tens of thousands of earthquakes, due to the awakening of a new volcanic fountain. The Krysuvik volcanic system it is located south of Mount Fagradalsfjall, and the spectacular eruption has awakened the volcano from a “sleep” that lasted 8 centuries.
How to get to the Fagradalsfjall volcano
The new crater is located not far fromKeflavik Airport and just 5 km as the crow flies from Blue Lagoon, among the attractions that have made Iceland one of the most popular destinations for tourists. To get there, you need to drive from Reykjavik for 45 minutes to the airport and simply follow the directions. The exact location of the visitor parking also changes according to the traffic of tourists and the security conditions of the area. Then you walk for about an hour and a half.
The experience is becoming very popular in Iceland, to the extent that all major local tour operators organize daily excursions. However, following the new eruption, the Icelandic public television reporter on the spot reported that the walk to the eruption is longer and more difficult compared to last year, and that the lava flow itself looks decidedly hotter and more powerful.
Located between the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America, Iceland has an eruption every four to five years on average. The most disruptive of recent times was that of Eyjafjallajokull volcanoin 2010, which sent clouds of ash and dust into the atmosphere, disrupting air traffic for days.