On December 19, 2023, a volcano erupted in southwest Iceland, sending out lava and smoke over a large area. The eruption happened after weeks of strong earthquakes, as reported by Iceland’s Meteorological Office. The eruption posed a danger to a nearby town called Grindavik. To keep people safe, authorities evacuated around 4,000 residents from Grindavik and closed the nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, expecting a significant eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula. The eruption started near Grindavik, only a few kilometers away, causing cracks in the ground that extended towards the village, which is about 40 kilometers southwest of Reykjavik. Despite the eruption, Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik stayed open, but there were many delays for incoming and outgoing flights. Pictures and live videos of the eruption showed molten rock shooting from cracks in the ground, creating bright yellow and orange colors against the night sky.

The Meteorological Office mentioned that seismic activity and GPS measurements suggested the magma was moving southwest, indicating the eruption might continue towards Grindavik. The lava flow was measured at 100 to 200 cubic meters per second, exceeding the amount from previous eruptions in the area. Local police heightened their alert due to potential volcanic activity in Iceland, cautioning people to stay away while emergency crews assessed the situation. The country, situated on tectonic plate boundaries, faces challenges in predicting eruptions despite frequent seismic and volcanic events. In mid-November, Grindavik residents were evacuated due to seismic activity, but it subsided later. The Reykjanes peninsula, prone to eruptions, had notable events in March 2021, August 2022, and July 2023.