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Key Takeaways: 
– This is an ongoing localized seismic event
– There is not an ongoing eruption in Iceland
– Flights are operating normally and unlikely to be affected in case of an eruption
– Iceland is highly prepared for volcanic events. 

Reykjavík, November 18- Since October 24, scientists at the Icelandic Met Office have been monitoring a rise in seismic activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula, which may signal an impending volcanic eruption. The heightened intensity of these seismic events, particularly near the town of Grindavík, indicates the potential for volcanic activity in the area. As a precautionary measure, the town was evacuated on November 10 to prioritize the safety of its residents. Evacuations will remain in effect until seismic activity subsides.

It is impossible to predict whether a volcanic eruption will occur or exactly when or where in the vicinity of Grindavík a potential eruption might break out. The Icelandic Met Office, in collaboration with the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and a team of scientists from the University of Iceland, is actively monitoring the situation and thoroughly analyzing any unfolding developments.

While the possibility of air traffic disturbance cannot be entirely ruled out, scientists consider it an unlikely scenario. The potential disruption to flight traffic would depend on factors such as the location and size of the eruption. Typically, the impact of volcanic eruptions is confined to specific, localized areas. Notably, previous eruptions in the area did not impact flights to and from the country.

It is important to note that there are currently 46 volcanoes actively erupting around the world without any significant disruption to international air traffic.


This map shows the location of Grindavík and the Blue Lagoon on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Iceland is no stranger to volcanic activity and experiences a volcanic event every five years, on average. Three eruptions have occurred on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the last three years, none of which caused harm to people or disrupted air traffic. Icelandic authorities and the public are highly prepared for such events, and Iceland has one of the world’s most effective volcanic preparedness measures. Iceland’s geoscientists possess vast experience in dealing with volcanic activities.

Iceland is situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates diverge, making it one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Regular seismic events are a characteristic feature of Icelandic geology, ranging from minor tremors to significant earthquakes. Seismic activity in Iceland is often due to magma movement beneath the earth’s crust. It may sometimes result in magma seeking the easiest path to the surface and becoming a volcanic eruption.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office, The National Police Commissioner, The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, and a team of scientists from the University of Iceland have closely monitored this situation since the beginning and are constantly analyzing developments. There is no way of accurately predicting whether, where, or when this could result in a volcanic eruption or the possible size of such an eruption. However, the situation is closely monitored and constantly evaluated based on the best scientific data.

The National Police Commissioner of Iceland raised the Civil Protection Service Level from Alert to Emergency on November 10 in response to the increasing intensity of seismic activity. This is the highest level of Civil Protection Service Levels, indicating an event that has already begun and could lead, or already has led to, harm to people, communities, properties, or the environment. At this stage, immediate measures are taken to ensure security, save lives, and prevent casualties, damage, and/or loss.

People are encouraged to stay alert and follow updates via the links below. The area surrounding Grindavík is closed, and Police will stop all access to the town.

More information: