Volcano That Has Remained Dormant For 6,000 Years Erupts in Iceland

The volcano that reigns on Fagradals mountain, in southwest Iceland, has remained dormant for 6,000 years. Last Friday night, 19, after earthquakes in the area, the volcano erupted – the first that the Reykjanes Peninsula experienced in 781 years.

The phenomenon occurred during the night and illuminated the entire region. According to The Associated Press, the glow of the lava can be seen about 30 kilometers away from Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland.

On social media, Icelandic authorities have asked people to stay at home and, in such a period, keep windows and doors closed to avoid contact with ash and other gases, which are released by lava during the eruption process.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the gases, which include sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen fluoride, are potentially dangerous.

Active volcano

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said on Saturday morning, 20, that the presence of the gases “should not cause much discomfort for people, except for those who live near the source of the eruption”.

On its website, the agency revealed that scientists and other professionals continue to monitor gas emissions and reported that volcanic activity has been decreasing since Friday, 19. Scientists in the department also mentioned eruptive fissures – cracks in the Earth’s surface from where it leaves lava – are approximately between 500 and 700 meters in length.

“The lava sources are small and the lava flows pose no imminent danger,” said the Icelandic Meteorological Office. The country’s Scientific Civil Protection Council said it did not believe the eruption to be a threat to local structures.

As we reported here, southwestern Iceland has been hit by a “swarm” of earthquakes since February 24th. Dozens of them had a magnitude of 3 or more, which means that all activities were felt.

On Thursday, 18, just a day before the eruption, the Icelandic Meteorological Office reported a total of 400 earthquakes in a period of just seven hours. Despite the extent, seismic activity was much less compared to others in which around 1,000 earthquakes occurred.

Iceland, April 2020

Scientists and competent authorities have been on alert since April 2020, since at the time, according to the Tempo website, more than 8,000 earthquakes were recorded in a volcanic region of Iceland. The activity, according to experts, is a sign that more and more volcanoes could erupt at any moment – as it has now.

The Rejkanes Peninsula, located southwest of the capital of Iceland (Reykjavik), where ever since seismic shocks have been felt with a certain frequency, is the most monitored today, mainly because the ground is being pushed constantly by magma, which continues to rise.

“It seems that after being relatively inactive for several centuries, this region is still waking up,” said volcanologist Dave McGarvie of Lancaster University, UK. As the Tempo website explains, “geologists believe that the Reyjkanes peninsula deserves greater attention due to the length of active periods, around 300 years of activity, and the type of volcanic activity”.