Iceland has declared a state of emergency with the country’s Met Office warning that there is “significant likelihood” of a volcanic eruption in the coming days.
The volcano is expected on, or just off, the Reykjanes Peninsula, around 35 miles south-west of the capital Reykjavik and around 12 miles north of Keflavik international airport.
Hundreds of earthquakes have hit the peninsula leading to the evacuation of Grindavik, a town that is around 1.9 miles south of the area where a series of earthquakes occurred.
A magma-filled crack that is around nine miles long has appeared through the town and Icelandic authorities are building defences around Grindavik geothermal power plant.
Blue Lagoon Iceland, a geothermal tourist attraction near Grindavik, has been closed since last Thursday.
Here is what you need to know if you are planning to travel to Iceland.
Is it safe to travel to Iceland?
The UK Foreign Office is not warning against travel to Iceland.
Airlines are continuing to run UK–Iceland flights and Keflavik airport is operating as normal.
“While there is no current eruption, it is increasingly possible that one could occur,” reads the Foreign Office advice page for travel to Iceland.
“You should monitor local media for updates and follow the authorities’ advice on travel to the area,” it continues.
When will there be a volcanic eruption?
An eruption is expected over the coming days. The Icelandic Met Office has declared that there is a “considerable” risk of an eruption on or just off the Reykjanes Peninsula, which is a volcanic and seismic hotspot.
The fissure filled with magma is still active, and Thor Thordason, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, told the BBC that “the most likely eruption side appears to be within the boundary of the town of Grindavik”.
Could there be an ash cloud that affects flights?
In 2010, an ash cloud from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano led to the cancellation of around 100,000 flights and airspace restrictions in Europe.
Experts have conflicting views on whether an eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula could result in a volcanic ash cloud that would have a similar impact.
Paavo Nikkola of the Geological Survey of Finland told Finnish publication Yle: “A volcanic ash cloud like 2010 is not possible now.
“Back then, the ash was generated by a large explosive eruption beneath a glacier. Now, the eruption is likely to occur underground. It’s a calm lava eruption that doesn’t produce ash.”
However, Kristin Jonsdottir, head of the Geoscience Research Department at the Icelandic Met Office, told Sky News that an ash cloud is something that “we cannot exclude”.
Are flights running as normal?
Yes, easyJet, Wizz Air, Icelandair, British Airways and Play are all continuing to operate flights between the UK and Keflavik airport.
Flight schedules are running as planned and Keflavik airport is open as usual.
Britons planning to visit Iceland in the coming days should continue to check for any updates from their airline or travel provider.
I am due to travel to Iceland, can I cancel my trip?
Should you choose to cancel, you are likely to lose the money you have spent on your holiday as the Foreign Office has not warned against travel to the country.
However, if you have booked with a tour operator, you could contact them to see if they will allow you to move your trip to a later date.
Or, if you have booked flights and accommodation separately, you could contact each provider to see if they will permit you to change the dates without charge.
Unless the Foreign Office advises against travel to Iceland, you are unlikely to be able to make a claim on your travel insurance if you decide to cancel your trip.
How can I keep safe while in Iceland?
Follow the advice of Icelandic authorities and the UK Foreign Office.
Keep the emergency contact details of your travel provider on hand.
Is there anything else I should know?
Blue Lagoon Iceland is closed until at least 16 November.
The Government of Iceland and the Icelandic Met Office are useful resources for warnings and advice while in the country.