Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Warning Iceland volcano eruption is ‘imminent’ as tourist attraction evacuated

The spa has faced a series of closures over recent months as a wave of seismic activity continues to affect the country

Athena Stavrou
Sunday 03 March 2024 14:05 GMT
Iceland volcano spews lava as it erupts for third time in two months

Iceland’s iconic Blue Lagoon spa was forced to evacuate on Saturday as meteorologists warned of an “imminent” volcanic eruption nearby.

The spa has faced a series of closures over recent months as a wave of seismic activity continues to affect the country.

According to Iceland’s national broadcaster, lava has begun flowing after “intense seismic activity” in the area around the lagoon.

In a statement on its website, the spa said: “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.

“As a result all our operations will remain closed for the remaining of today, Saturday, March 2, and tomorrow, Sunday, March 3, at which time the situation will be reassessed.”

Lava crossed the main road to Grindavík and flowed on the road leading to the Blue Lagoon on February 8

Iceland’s meteorological office said in their latest update that the magma intrusion appears to have stopped, after a fissure of around four kilometers opened on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

The seismicity began at the southern end of the fissure that formed on 18 December 2023. There have been ongoing disruptions in the area for months due to volcanic activity with residents of nearby town Grindavik having been evacuated.

On Thursday, the Icelandic meteorological office warned an eruption could start with very little warning time, even less than 30 minutes.

Then on Saturday, the forecasters confirmed that magma movements had begun, and that a fissure eruption was likely.

While indications show the magma activity has ceased the office said it is too early to tell if that the magma intrusion has ended, and that there will not be an eruption.

Iceland, which sits above a volcanic hot spot in the North Atlantic, averages an eruption every four to five years.

A view of lava as the volcano erupts near Grindavík, Iceland, Sunday, January 14. 2024

Iceland, which is roughly the size of the US state of Kentucky, boasts more than 30 active volcanoes, making the north European island a prime destination for volcano tourism – a niche segment that attracts thousands of thrill seekers.

The most disruptive in recent times was the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which spewed huge clouds of ash into the atmosphere and led to widespread airspace closures over Europe.

Grindavik, a town of 3,800 people about 50km south-west of Iceland‘s capital Reykjavik, was evacuated in November when the Svartsengi volcanic system awakened after almost 800 years with a series of earthquakes that opened large cracks in the earth between the town and Sylingarfell, a small mountain to the north.

The volcano eventually erupted on 18 December, sending lava flowing away from Grindavik.

A second eruption that began on 14 January sent lava towards the town.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in