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Report on Fagradalsfjall (Iceland) — 5 May-11 May 2021


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
5 May-11 May 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Fagradalsfjall (Iceland). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 May-11 May 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (5 May-11 May 2021)



63.895°N, 22.258°W; summit elev. 250 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

IMO reported that the fissure eruption in the W part of the Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, continued during 5-11 May. On 2 May pulsating high jets of lava from crater 5 prompted authorities to widen the restricted zone because; ash and lava could be deposited several hundred of meters away. Cycles of lava jetting and effusion periodically continued during 3-7 May, with lava steadily enlarging the flow field. By 4 May the area of the flow field had grown to 1.41 square kilometers, and the total volume erupted was 23 million cubic meters. Activity was quiet for a period of time during 8-9 May, though IMO noted that fountaining quickly resumed during the morning of 9 May. High jets of lava occurred every 10 minutes, sometimes with jets rising as high as 300 m. Tephra (a few centimeters in diameter) was deposited as far as 1 km from the vent and small amounts of tephra were reported in Gríndavík. Hot deposits have caused small vegetation fires within a few hundreds of meters around the eruption site. On 10 May gas plumes rose higher than 2 km a.s.l. The eruption area was closed due to local wildfires and unfavorable wind conditions. Very high fountains were visible in Reykjavik. On 11 May lava fountains again rose up to 300 m tall and were seen from the capital. The cone had grown to about 50 m high. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange due to the lack of ash and tephra emissions.

Geological Summary. Although the Fagradalsfjall fissure swarm has previously been considered a split or secondary swarm of the Krýsuvík–Trölladyngja volcanic system (https://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=371030), as of September 2022 Icelandic volcanologists managing the Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes (https://icelandicvolcanoes.is/) made the decision to identify Fagradalsfjall as a distinct separate system. The recent eruptions and related reports have been reassigned here, and other content will be prepared and adjusted as appropriate in the next few months.

Sources: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), Institute of Earth Sciences