Incredible Images Of Icelandic Volcanic Eruption Overwhelm Internet

(Photo by Kristin Elisabet Gunnarsdottir / AFP) (Photo by KRISTIN ELISABET GUNNARSDOTTIR/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A much-anticipated volcanic eruption started in Grindavik Monday evening on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula.

Earthquake swarms hit the town of Grindavik, Iceland, back in early November, suggesting an imminent eruption of a nearby dike (a large body of magma, per USGS) cut its way through the area. As the magma pocket ripped through the surface of the earth, around 10:17 pm local time Monday, the level of seismic activity traveled south, with hundreds of cubic meters of lava hurled into the air every second, according to the Iceland Met Office.

Within minutes of the eruption starting, absolutely incredible videos were shared online showing the utter power of our physical world. My personal favorite video was captured by the Reykjanes multiview “Live from Iceland” YouTube account, and shared on Twitter.

Just look at this thing coming to life:

As the hours went by, more images and videos of the lava flow surfaced. Even from this perspective, with almost nothing to use as a point of reference, the sheer scale of this thing is utterly insane:

People were quick to head over and get a better view of this enchanting moment. You might think these folks are crazy for getting so close. And they would be if this was a highly explosive volcanic chain, capable of sending pyroclastic flows throughout the region. But that didn’t happen because of the chemical makeup of the lava. It’s more like a Yellowstone geyser than a Mount St. Helens-style explosive.

As dawn rose over Iceland, the view became a little calmer (from a distance).

Folks in Iceland are used to this type of activity, so thankfully no one has been hurt as a result of the eruption. (RELATED: ‘The Volcano’ Is A Harrowing Tale Of Our Planet’s Violence And Power)

The intensity of the eruption diminished as the hours went on, but that doesn’t mean it’s nearly over. With these types of systems, there’s no way to really know how big, how long, and how damaging an eruption will be. The Icelandic Met Office described the volcano as “reaching a state of equilibrium,” but there’s always a chance it’ll slow down or speed back up any time it wants.