Volcanic Eruption Near Fagradalsfjall

Comfortable health walk

The residents of the village Grindavik do not tend to complain much as they are used to be shaken by earthquakes from time to time. But in March they had enough and complained a lot. They truly had a reason to. Since the start of the year, they had barely been able to stand still because of constant earthquakes and it seemed it would never stop. The measurements of the Meteorological office showed that there had been tens of thousands of earthquakes near Grindavík. Several of them were powerful enough to be clearly felt here in the capital. Three of them measured over five on the Richter scale. The scientists spoke with great wisdom in the media every day, saying that either the earthquakes would stop or continue. This is useful information and it´s for sure that the scientist won´t be wrong.

The town of Gindavik continued to be shaken and people began to wonder if the fire in the earth was breaking its way to the surface. Scientists were constantly asked if that was the case? They answered, which is so true, that it would either erupt or not. The uncertainty irritated many of Grindvík´s residents so much that many of them decided to spend nights elsewhere than in their village. On top of everything else, the electricity went off. The people of Grindvík felt they were badly let down and demanded explanations. One day one of the scientists decided to speak more clearly and said that there was a very, very small chance that it would erupt. The day after a volcanic eruption started in the valley Geldingardalur close to the mountain Fagradalsfjall in Reykjanes, Iceland. That´s not far from the town, Grindavik.

Eruption in Reykjanes 5Two craters were active when we were in valley Geldingardalur. Five days later, two cracks opened nearby, now it was erupting in four places.

The people of Grindavik were relieved. Scientists said that the eruption would ease the tension in the earth and the earthquakes would be reduced. But they did also say that there was still tension elsewhere on the Reykjanes peninsula and that it could well be that there would be a strong earthquake further to the east. Despite that, the people of Grindavik were relieved because the shaking certainly reduced and the eruption was far enough from the village that it caused no danger to it. Adam was not in paradise for long, however, because curious inhabitants of this country now flock to the eruptions and everyone drives through Grindavík. The news said it was so crowded that the people of the town had trouble going to the store. Behavioral scientists have not yet commented on this. But if they were asked, they would no doubt say in a philosophical way that two scenarios are possible here. Either the flow of people to the eruptions would stop or it would continue. Grindvík must continue to live in uncertainty.

This was a long introduction to what was to be the subject of this article. My daughter Lilja and I seized the opportunity on the 31st of March and headed towards the valley Geldingardalur where the eruption was. We were far from alone. Lots of people were there on the same mission. A friendly rescue squad person directed us to a place where we could leave the car and then we set off. The rescue crew in Grindavik has been on duty day and night since the eruption started have been complaining. They are complaining about all the people which come ill-prepared for the walk. Lilja and I were of course role models here. Looking around we saw that the rescue squad's complaints were completely justified. Some people should not have been there but most were ok.

Eruption in Reykjanes 3Lilja sits and looks over the lava field towards the mountain which has become about 100 m high.

The walk towards the valley Geldingadalur took us an hour and twenty minutes. The valley can hardly be considered a valley anymore because the lava is well on its way to filling it. The name for this lava will probably be called Geldingahraun in the future. Then we walked along the lava until we saw the magma spew out of the two craters. There we sat down, had hot cocoa and bread, and just enjoyed the spectacle the Icelandic nature offered us.

As we sat there on the hillside overlooking the craters, we wondered how long this eruption would last. Scientists have answered this question with their well-known accuracy. The eruption may stop tomorrow or it may erupt for years. By now people reading this might be wondering if the purpose of this article is to mock the scientists. That the author is sailing under a false flag. Starts the article by pretending that he is going to write about a nice walk in nature but then spends his words mocking our good scientists. That´s not at all the purpose. Thanks to the scientists and all the information they have given us, I and my daughter, were able to talk about the natural wonders we were witnessing with some knowledge. Our scientists are just being careful not to let the media trick them into saying something they can´t prove. On our way back to the city we took the opportunity to stop by lake Kleifarvatn. I intend to explore fishing possibilities in that lake this spring. This lake er pretty close to the capital so it is a bit surprising that I have not fished in it yet. That will change this year.

Eruption in Reykjanes 1If you look closely at the picture you can see that although the surface of the lava looks gray and cold, there is a floating magma underneath.

Lilja by KleifarvatnLilja by Kleifarvatn

Of course, we took pictures and videos during the walk and made a short movie from the trip.