Earthquakes diminish in Iceland as threat of volcanic eruption wanes

The Icelandic Met Office says dozens of earthquakes have happened on the Reykjanes Peninsula as a magma instruction begins. Local media reports that evacuations have been ordered for the towns of Grindavík and Svartsengi.

GRINDAVIK, Iceland – Dozens of earthquakes shook the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland on Saturday morning as officials warned that the odds of a volcanic eruption had increased, but by Saturday evening officials said the threat of an eruption had diminished.

The Icelandic Met Office recorded a swarm of temblors over the past two days in an area on the southwestern side of the island that has been active for months. Most of them appeared to have happened on Saturday morning. By the evening, the number of quakes had dropped dramatically.


Officials issued an Orange alert for the Reykjanes region, noting that an intrusion of magma had started just east of the town of Sýlingafell. The Orange alert was still in effect as of Saturday evening, but officials said there were signs that the intrusion had stopped.

"The Icelandic Meteorological Office continues to monitor the area to observe whether the activity resumes in the next few hours, or if the magma intrusion has halted completely," officials wrote on the agency's website. "It remains possible that magma could ascend to the surface, as has been observed in eruptions near Fagradalsfjall."

According to RUV, evacuations were ordered for the nearby towns of Grindavík and Svartsengi. The Blue Lagoon, a popular tourist attraction in the area, has also been evacuated. It was unclear whether those orders had been lifted by Saturday evening.

If an eruption were to occur, it would be the fourth eruption since the end of 2023, with the first occurring on Dec. 18, the second on Jan. 14 and the third on Feb. 8.


Grindavík residents have been evacuated several times since the activity started late last year. 

No injuries have been reported from any of the eruptions, but lava flows destroyed some homes during the eruption on Jan. 14.