Grindavík lava fields in Iceland
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Grindavík lava fields in Iceland

Text and photos by Erik Sturkell

On the 19th of February I traveled to Iceland to spend a week. There were a lot of things to attend both big and small. I had hopes high to be able to visit Grindavík and to see the new lava fields. This wish came through and on Wednesday (21st) I could join Freysteinn and Sveinbjörn on an excursion for PhD students. They traveled in the HiLux and I followed in my own car. We stopped at several places in and around Grindavík. The map in figure 1 shows the Grindavík area with the new lava fields and the town. The different stops on the excursion are shown, too. The numbers of the stops are included in the figure captions, note that only a selected stops are shown. 

We stopped at the former intersection Grindavík and the Blue lagune which was buried by the February lava (Stop 2, figure 2). This lava flow continued downhill and cut the hot water pipeline, which was repaired within days after the end of the eruption. Next, we drove to one of the barriers made to stop or deflect the lava or gain time (Stop 3, figure 3). During the January eruption, a short eruptive fissure opened just at the town limit with some small craters (Stop 6, figure 4). The lava just entered the town destroying three houses (Stop 7, figure 5). We went east of the town and drove a track to a viewpoint from which the eruptive fissure for the February eruption were sitting on top of the fissure formed in the December eruption (Stop 8, figure 6). We drove back to the barrier just north-east of Grindavík. The western part of the barrier deflected some of the lava, but at the gap of the road the lava flowed a short distance towards the town. In the eastern part of the barrier the eruptive fissure opened directly under it and lava flowed out on both sides of the barrier. Also, the amount of lava produced the barrier was over drowned (Stop 11, figure 7). Thank you for an interesting excursion!

Now to something completely different – a reflection

One of the days was sunny and I took a walk around downtown starting with a late lunch at Vitabarinn. Continued to Laugarvegurinn and looking at the changes. Passing by Karastigur where the SIRKUS bar was located (frequently visited in the past) there is now a place with the name KOKTEIL BARINN, see the photograph before and after (figures 8 & 9). It had a total make over and has a posher appearance. If you desire to visit SIRKUS you need to go to the Faroe islands (figure 10), which is considered as sin’s nest by some of the locals.

Figure 1. Map showing the recent lava flows close to Grindavík. The excursion on Wednesday 21st of February had 13 stops which are marked on the map.

Figure 2. Stop 2, at the intersection of the Grindavík road and the road to the Blue lagune.

Figure 3. Stop 3, the barrier to deflect lava that can threaten the power station Svartsengi.

Figure 4. Stop 6, the northeastern end of the crater row formed the 19th of January just north-east of the town limit.

Figure 5a & b. Stop 7. the lava entered the Grindavík on the 19th of January destroying three houses.

Figure 6. Stop 8, overlooking the February crater row, which sits on top of the crater row formed in December.

Figure 7. The eruptive fissure that opened on the 18th of January was running on both sides and under the barrier. Photograph taken from the barrier towards north-east.

Figure 8. The Bar SIRKUS at Karastigur back in 2008.

Figure 9. The replacement of SIRKUS in 2024 KOKTEIL BARINN.

Figure 10. To visit SIRKUS you need to go to the Faroes islands (photo 2010).