On December 19, 2023, a volcano erupted in southwest Iceland, releasing lava and smoke across a wide area. The eruption followed weeks of strong earthquakes, as reported by Iceland’s Meteorological Office. This event posed a threat to the nearby town of Grindavik, leading authorities to evacuate around 4,000 residents and close the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The eruption, situated near Grindavik, caused cracks in the ground that stretched towards the village, located about 40 kilometers southwest of Reykjavik. Although Keflavik International Airport remained open, flight delays were experienced due to the volcanic activity. Pictures and live videos captured molten rock shooting from the ground, painting the night sky with vibrant yellow and orange hues.

The Meteorological Office indicated that seismic activity and GPS measurements suggested the magma’s southwest movement, hinting at a potential continuation of the eruption towards Grindavik. With a lava flow measuring 100 to 200 cubic meters per second—surpassing previous eruptions in the region—local police heightened their alert, urging people to stay away while emergency crews assessed the situation. Iceland, positioned on tectonic plate boundaries, faces challenges in predicting eruptions despite frequent seismic and volcanic events. Grindavik residents had experienced a previous evacuation in mid-November due to seismic activity, which subsided later. The Reykjanes peninsula, prone to eruptions, witnessed notable events in March 2021, August 2022, and July of the previous year.