Litli-Hrútur eruption in Iceland July 2023

The area, broadly known as Fagradalsfjall, has erupted three times since 2021 and is predicted to continue to blow with some frequency based on the latest measures.

Volcanic Iceland

Latest update: New volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula

A new fissure eruption started on the Reykjanes Peninsula North-East from Sýlingarfell on May 29, 2024, marking the fifth eruption in the area since December of 2023.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Air traffic to and from Iceland operates normally, and Iceland remains a safe destination.
  • The eruption's effects are localized to the eruption site with road closures and do not threaten people.  
  • All services in Iceland are operating as usual.
  • Volcanic activity has significantly reduced since the initial phase of the eruption.

Read all current news on the eruption here

Iceland is a volcanic island.

On average, a volcano erupts in Iceland erupts every five years. Since 2021, however, the frequency has been closer to every 12 months! The area broadly known as Fagradalsfjall, some 35km from the capital Reykjavík, flared to life after a series of earthquakes on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The three eruptions - some consider one single eruption with months-long pauses - mark the beginning of a new geological era on the southwestern peninsula, which has been dormant for the past 800 years.

Unlike most volcanic eruptions -- occurring on the interior highlands, the lava hidden under ice and/or with lethal volumes of volcanic gases -- Fagradalsfjall was the ideal 'tourist volcano': Small in relative terms and accessible for all levels of fitness.

The last eruption at Fagradalsfjall ended in August 2023, but the site still remains a major attraction. The thick, black crust of lava paves the landscape with crumbling craters and steam.

The hiking trails on Fagradalsfjall and how to get there from Reykjavík

rich-text-image

From the eruption at Fagradalsfjall in year 2021

Volcano Watch

Of Iceland’s 32 active volcanoes, none is watched more closely than Katla. One of the nation’s largest and most feared, Katla lies under glacial ice hundreds of meters (yards) thick, meaning that any eruption is likely to melt the ice and cause widespread flooding.

Katla last erupted in 1918 but gained revived attention in recent years with the dystopian Netflix series Katla, largely filmed in the area surrounding Vík.

Iceland's most famous - infamous, even - remains Eyjafjallajökull. The Eyjafjallajokull eruption of 2010 stranded millions of tourists worldwide as it grounded more than 100,000 flights over seven days because of concerns that its volcanic ash would damage aircraft engines.

In 2023, the volcano Askja showed signs of possible eruption. For latest alerts, check the official Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanos and see if any of the 32 active volcanic systems in Iceland has a color code RED (a volcano is considered active if it has erupted in the past 10,000 years). If no volcano is erupting, likely, we won't have to wait too long for the next one since Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions on the planet.

Where fire meets ice

Ash and gas plume rising from a glacier covered with black ash

Iceland's ice-covered volcanos produce black ash when 1,200°C hot basalt magma meets ice and explodes.

The nature of eruptions in Iceland is diverse, from small effusive eruptions where lava flows quietly from fissures and crater rows to significant explosive eruptions in ice-covered central volcanos that produce large ash plumes—literally where fire meets ice.

The reason for Iceland's intense volcanic activity is the country's geological position, where dynamic geological forces are at work between the spreading plate boundary on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean ridge and a powerful mantle plume creating a hot spot on the surface. Together, they produce large amounts of magma, filling the gaps in the crust made by the spreading plates, resulting in frequent eruptions along the rift zone.

Below you can find links to eruptions in Iceland in the 21st Century and other volcano-related articles. 

Litli-Hrútur eruption in Iceland with Keilir Mountain in the background July 11, 2023.

The Fagradalsfjall eruption in July 2023

After an 11-month slumber, the Fagradalsfjall Volcano system awoke again at Litli-Hrútur hill

READ MORE

The Fagradalsfjall 2022 eruption

On 3 August, 2022, the Fagradalsfjall began its latest eruption— just eight months after the la...

READ MORE

Erupting crater and flowing lava

The Fagradalsfjall 2021 eruption

After being dormant for six thousand years, the Fagradalsfjall volcano gave a rumble in 2021. T...

READ MORE

Fire fountains rising from a volcanic crater

The 2014 Holuhraun eruption

The 2014-2015 Holuhraun eruption was the largest outbreak in Iceland for over 300 years and las...

READ MORE

Black ash and steam rising from an ice-covered crater lake

The 2011 and 2004 Grímsvötn eruptions

The ice-covered Grímsvötn is Iceland's most active volcano, erupting every 14 years on average....

READ MORE

Black and red ash-cloud with blue flashes of lightning

The 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions

The notorious volcano with the impossible name Eyjafjallajökull erupted twice in 2010 and stopp...

READ MORE

Have a safe trip!

You might also be interested in:

Volcanic eruptions in Iceland