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2023 Grindavík’s Volcanic & Seizmic Activity

Daniel Cramer

(Updated: )
6 min read

Update 7th of December 2023

  • No volcanic eruption has occurred and seismic activities have decreased.
  • Residents may now visit Grindavik for extended periods, although residing there is still not permitted.
  • Businesses are allowed to operate within specified daily hours.
  • The Blue Lagoon remains closed.


  • Iceland is safe for visitors
  • Over 22.000 earthquakes recorded in Grindavík
  • Magma estimated 500 meters below surface, increased SO2 levels
  • Localized response includes Reykjavík service center, infrastructure fortification
  • Travel impacts: Blue Lagoon closure, safe travel in other Iceland regions
  • Traveler guidance: stay informed, adhere to local advisories


In recent days, the picturesque town of Grindavík on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula has captured global attention due to its escalating seismic activity. This blog aims to shed light on the situation, providing travelers and locals alike with the latest updates and safety information.

Current Status - A Detailed Overview

As of the latest reports, Grindavík's volcanic activity has intensified, characterized by more than 22.000 recorded earthquakes. This seismic activity centers around the magma intrusion, where thousands of significant quakes have surpassed a magnitude of two, three and four, with 5.1 being the biggest measured earthquake.

Geologists have noted the magma's ascent, now estimated to be approximately 500 meters below the surface, a fact corroborated by heightened levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) detected in the atmosphere. These indicators point towards a potential eruption, although the exact timeline remains uncertain.

A notable phenomenon accompanying this seismic unrest is the expanding sinkhole within Grindavík. Its continuous growth not only represents geological changes but also poses potential risks to the infrastructure and the local populace.

Image of a sinkhole due to volcanic and seismic activity
Sinkhole downtown Grindavik due to seismic activity
The Icelandic Met Office, in conjunction with international geology experts, continues to analyze the seismic data. Their focus is on understanding the magma's movement and predicting possible outcomes. This includes assessing the likelihood of an eruption and its potential impact on the surrounding area.

While the current seismic activity is concentrated in Grindavík, its effects have rippled through neighboring regions, leading to heightened alertness and preparedness. The situation remains dynamic, with ongoing assessments to track any significant changes in the geological behavior.

The U.S. embassy has also given a statement, find out more here

Safety Measures and Local Response

In response to Grindavík's seismic activity, the Icelandic Met Office and Civil Defence have implemented rigorous monitoring and emergency protocols. A service center has been established in Reykjavík's Customs House at Tryggvagata, offering support and information to both residents and visitors affected by the situation.

Image of the defense wall that is being raised around Blue Lagoon and Svartsengi
The defense wall around the Blue Lagoon
Key infrastructure, such as the Svartsengi power station, is being fortified against potential damage. Authorities are facilitating controlled access to Grindavík, allowing residents to safely retrieve essentials. This process, though challenging due to the circumstances, reflects the commitment to safety and orderly management of the situation.

The collaboration between the National Police Commissioner, the Red Cross, and the local government of Grindavík exemplifies the comprehensive approach taken to address both the immediate and long-term implications of the seismic activity. These efforts underscore the Icelandic authorities' dedication to ensuring the well-being of all those in the affected area.

Impact on Travel and Transportation

The seismic activity in Grindavík has led to disruptions in the local infrastructure, including power outages and structural damages. The town's mayor has indicated that repairs may take months. Notably, The Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland's most iconic attractions, has extended its closure due to the seismic activity in Grindavík. This decision reflects a commitment to safety, both for local residents and international visitors, amidst the ongoing geological changes in the area.

Authorities have been efficiently managing the situation, allowing residents to return temporarily for essential items. However, there has been some frustration regarding the organization of these efforts. Travelers are advised to consider these factors when planning their trips, particularly those intending to visit the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Image of Reykjanes peninsula that reveals the closing of roads the lead to Grindavik.
Grindavik is the only affected area.
While Grindavík is significantly affected, the rest of Iceland, including its major transport networks, remains operational and safe for travel. Tourists are encouraged to explore other beautiful regions of Iceland, keeping in mind the importance of staying informed and flexible with their travel plans in light of the current situation.

Guidance for Travelers

  • Stay Informed: Regularly check updates from the Icelandic Met Office and Civil Defence & civil defense facebook page. Utilize apps and websites that provide real-time seismic activity data.
  • Follow Local Advice: Adhere to all travel advisories and restrictions issued by Icelandic authorities. Avoid visiting Grindavík and other affected areas.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, embassies, and healthcare services.
  • Travel Insurance: Ensure your travel insurance covers natural disasters and understand the terms regarding volcanic activity.
  • Plan Alternative Routes: Be prepared to adjust your travel plans, including accommodations and activities, especially if they involve the affected area.
  • Safety Essentials: Carry a basic emergency kit with essentials like water, snacks, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight.
  • Communication Preparedness: Keep your phone charged and consider carrying a portable charger. Stay connected with your travel group.
  • Respect Emergency Operations: Understand that emergency response efforts are a priority, and your cooperation is crucial.

By following these guidelines, travelers can ensure their safety while still enjoying the unique beauty and experiences Iceland offers.

Other websites to be aware of:

  • Local media outlets for updates, including the online National Broadcasting service, RUV, also at RUV Facebook.
  • Live webcams of the area are visible here.
  • Follow the latest alerts on SafeTravel.is and @safetravel.
  • Additional information at Visit Reykjanes and @visitreykjanes.


The evolving situation in Grindavík highlights the dynamic nature of Iceland's geology. We remain committed to providing timely updates and urge everyone to prioritize safety, following official guidelines. This event reminds us of the importance of respecting nature's power while exploring the unique landscapes of Iceland.


Is it safe to travel to Iceland now?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Iceland. The seismic activity is localized to Grindavík, and the rest of the country remains safe and accessible.

Should I cancel my trip to Iceland because of the volcanic activity?

There's no need to cancel your trip. Stay informed about the situation in Grindavík, but remember that Iceland is well-prepared for geological events.

Can I still visit popular tourist spots outside of Grindavík?

Yes, other tourist destinations in Iceland are unaffected and remain open for visitors.

What precautions should I take while traveling in Iceland?

Stay updated with local news, adhere to travel advisories, and follow guidelines set by Icelandic authorities.

How will this affect my travel plans within Iceland?

While travel within Iceland is largely unaffected, it's good to have flexible plans and check for any travel advisories related to the Grindavík area.

Is the Blue Lagoon open?

The Blue Lagoon is currently closed due to the seismic activity. Check their official website for updates on reopening.

What should I do in case of an emergency?

Keep emergency contacts handy, including local authorities and your embassy. Follow instructions from local officials promptly.

Are there any specific areas in Iceland to avoid?

Currently, it's advised to avoid the immediate area around Grindavík due to seismic activity.