Where is the Iceland volcano? Map shows Reykjanes peninsula eruption

A volcano in south-west Iceland has erupted after weeks of intense earthquake activity.

Fears of a significant eruption prompted authorities to evacuate around 4,000 residents from the fishing town of Grindavík in November.

The nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, was also closed.

The eruption began north of the town at 10.17pm local time on Monday, the Icelandic Met Office said, spewing lava and smoke across a large area.

Vidir Reynisson, a senior police officer at Civil Defence, told national broadcaster RUV the eruption had happened quickly and appeared to be “quite a large event”, adding that lava appeared to be flowing in all directions from a large crack in the volcano.

Where is the Iceland volcano?

The location of the Iceland volcano (Image: i)

The eruption, which can be seen from Reykjavik, is located in Grindavík, about 42km south-west of the capital.

The region around Reykjavik has been experiencing an increase in earthquake activity since late October.

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the eruptive fissure is about 4km (2.5 miles) long, with the northern end just east of Stóra-Skógfell and the southern end just east of Sundhnúk.

The distance from the southern end to the edge of Grindavík is almost 3km.

It added: “The intensity of the volcanic eruption, which started about four hours ago, is decreasing.

“This is evident from seismic and GPS measurements. The fact that the activity is decreasing already is not an indication of how long the eruption will last, but rather that the eruption is reaching a state of equilibrium.

“This development has been observed at the beginning of all eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula in recent years.”

It warned that Iceland’s south-western peninsula could face decades of volcanic instability.

Has travel been affected?

Flowing lava is seen during at a fissure on the Reykjanes peninsula 3km north of Grindavik, western Iceland on December 18, 2023. A volcanic eruption began on Monday night in Iceland, south of the capital Reykjavik, following an earthquake swarm, Iceland's Meteorological Office reported. (Photo by Kristinn Magnusson / AFP) / Iceland OUT (Photo by KRISTINN MAGNUSSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Lava at a fissure on the Reykjanes Peninsula 3km north of Grindavik (Photo: Kristinn Magnusson/AFP via Getty)

In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull eruption caused a huge ash cloud that disrupted global aviation, with 50,000 flights cancelled worldwide.

However, this time, Iceland’s foreign minister Bjarni Benediktsson said on X, formerly Twitter, that “there are no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland, and international flight corridors remain open”.

While some scheduled flights set to depart early on Tuesday are delayed, flights are largely departing as usual from Iceland’s largest airport, Keflavík International.

The country’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management noted that Iceland is “highly prepared for volcanic events”.

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