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Iceland Volcanic Eruption Close to the Capital City Reykjavik

A volcanic eruption has happened on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, close to the capital city Reykjavik. The eruption, which occurred on July 10, 2023, at Mount Fagradalsfjall, was preceded by a series of intense earthquakes in the region. While the eruption is viewed as minor and localized, it has attracted attention because of the unique geographical features of Iceland and the potential dangers related with volcanic activity.

Iceland Volcanic Eruption

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Sources Related to Iceland’s Volcanoes (For R&D)

The eruption started on Monday evening at a site known as “Little Ram” or Litla Hrútur, situated on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) reported a 200-meter-long gap on the slopes of Mount Fagradalsfjall, from which lava in the form of fountains. The eruption is classified as effusive, meaning it is characterized by the relatively slow and steady flow of lava, rather than explosive eruptions.

The seismic activity paving the way to the eruption was a reason to worry among scientists. Over the course of several weeks, the region encountered a huge increase in earthquakes, with thousands of minor quakes recorded.

This seismic swarm signaled the movement of magma beneath the surface, indicating an imminent eruption. However, regardless of the activity, no ash eruptions were reported, and the eruption happened in a uninhabited region, ensuring no immediate risks to communities or infrastructure.

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The Eruption’s Impact

While the eruption has not represented an immediate risk, volcanic gases delivered during the eruption have incited authorities to give warnings and close off access to the volcano. The Icelandic authorities advised against visiting the site because of the accumulation of hazardously high degrees of volcanic gases, which could represent a threat to human health. The wind patterns in the region are supposed to carry these gases toward the north, possibly affecting regions, including Reykjavik, the nation’s capital.

The eruption’s effect on air travel has been negligible so far, without any interruptions announced at Keflavik Airport, the country’s largest international airport.

However, as a precautionary measure, flights within a three-mile radius of the eruption have been prohibited, except for those involving scientists and emergency responders. Authorities are closely observing the situation and will keep on evaluating the volcanic activity to guarantee the safety of air travel in the region.

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History and Volcanic Activity in Iceland

Iceland is known for its high concentration of active volcanic systems, with 33 currently identified across the country. This wealth of volcanic activity is a consequence of the island’s area on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a tectonic boundary where the Eurasian and North American plates meet. This land setting makes Iceland perhaps of the most volcanically active regions in Europe.

In recent years, Iceland has encountered a series of eruptions, including the eruption in Geldingadalur valley in 2021 and the eruption in Meradalir valley in 2022. These eruptions pulled in huge attention and drew visitors from around the world, anxious to witness the rare spectacle of an active volcano. While these eruptions were not exceptionally risky and didn’t altogether impact air traffic, they featured the dynamic nature of Iceland’s volcanic landscape.


Iceland’s history is marked by several catastrophic volcanic events, including the devastating 1783 eruption of the Laki volcanic fissure. This eruption brought about inescapable environmental and socioeconomic consequences, leading to the loss of livestock, famine, and a significant population decline.

The effects of the Laki eruption extended beyond Iceland, with some experts suggesting a link between the volcanic activity and subsequent global climatic anomalies, including the potential influence on the French Revolution.

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