Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon spa temporarily shuts down over volcanic threat

Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon spa has temporarily shut down, one week after a series of earthquakes led guests to vacate the hotel.

The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa southwest of Reykjavík, will reportedly be closed until 16 November due to a series of earthquakes that hit the region after midnight on 2 November. The earthquakes were followed by tremors, alarming enough for 40 guests at the spa to reportedly leave the resort’s premises.

In a statement posted to its website, the spa explained: “The primary reason for taking these precautionary measures is our unwavering commitment to safety and wellbeing. We aim to mitigate any disruption to our guests’ experiences and alleviate the sustained pressure on our employees.”

“During this time, Blue Lagoon Iceland will carefully monitor the seismic developments, in cooperation with the local authorities, and reassess the situation as necessary,” the statement added.

According to the Iceland Monitor, seismic activity occurred in the Reykjanes peninsula, an area that was dormant for 800 years before an eruption in 2021. The after-effects of the earthquakes reached all the way to Borgarnes, a town 51km away from the peninsula.

The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) has detected more than 23,000 tremors since October, with 1,400 occurring on 2 November alone, BBC reports. Officials detected an earthquake of 5.0 magnitude that midnight in the Fagradalsfjall volcanic area, the largest spike since the seismic activity began.

Seven subsequent earthquakes reportedly had a magnitude of 4 or above, with one occurring at 12.13am about 4.2km east of Sýrlingafell. Another occurred at 2.56am about three km southwest of Þorbjörn, and one at 6.52am east of Sýrlingafell. The IMO added that magma was also accumulating northwest of Thorbjorn mountain, close to the famed turquoise hot springs.

The Blue Lagoon Spa was one of many businesses in the area that shut down temporarily, after authorities expressed concerns that magma would potentially rise to the surface.

Blue Lagoon manager Helga Árnadóttir explained to the Iceland Monitor: “We were aware that this type of earthquake meant there was no danger, as civil protection had responded, but we thought it was important to respond in this way at this time.”

Following reports that frightened visitors left the Blue Lagoon spa in droves, Árnadóttir told the outlet that only one group of guests left the premises with the aid of the staff. She added: “Generally, the guests were naturally worried and aware of the situation, but the majority were very calm. Our staff did extremely well, as always, in helping the guests and informing them, as they always do. The guests appreciated that.”

As for whether or not the luxury hotel will sustain financial damage from the earthquakes, the manager said that finances were secondary to their staff and guest’s safety.

Iceland has some of the most seismically active regions in the globe, with nearly 30 active volcanic sites including Litli-Hrutur, or Little Ram, which erupted in the Fagradalsfjall area in July. It was dubbed the “world’s newest baby volcano.”

The Independent has contacted Blue Lagoon for comment.