11:45 am ET, December 19, 2023
Lava flows down to “a quarter” of Monday’s level – but gas pollution could hit Reykjavík, weather service says
From CNN’s Caitlin Danaher in London
Iceland Coast Guard via AP
The volume of volcanic eruptions on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula is “continuing to decrease”, with lava flows down to “a quarter” of the levels seen on Monday, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said in an update on Tuesday.
The IMO added that gas pollution could be observed on Vestmannaijar, an archipelago off Iceland’s southern coast, on Tuesday, but that other populated areas would not be affected.
Due to the weather forecast, according to the IMO, gas pollution may reach the capital region, where Reykjavík is located, on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
The magma fountains are lower than they were at the start of the eruption, “reaching about 30 meters at their maximum height,” which is about 98 feet, the IMO said. Five vents now spread along the original fissure, but the length of the fissure remains unchanged, Meade’s office added.
Meanwhile, Iceland’s electricity distribution company Landsnet has raised its alert to “emergency,” a Landsnet spokesperson told CNN in an email.
Landsnet is “looking at potential lava flow scenarios and assessing whether additional preparations are needed to protect transmission infrastructure,” the spokesman said.
The company expects to build protections around three power masts located outside the protective wall around the Schwarzenegger power station, but a spokesperson told CNN they don’t anticipate any power outages.
The spokesman added that the main power line serving the Reykjanes peninsula, known as “Suðurnesjalína 1”, was not affected by the volcanic eruption and was not in any danger.