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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland - eruption, seismic activity, and volcanic activity alert!

Updated: 4 days ago

Updated: 20/02/2024. A hazardous situation has developed around the Blue Lagoon. In recent weeks, an unusual amount of magma has accumulated in the area and below the Blue Lagoon, initiating eruptions close to the lagoon. There is also a real danger of significant disaster around the lagoon, the power plant at Svartsengi, and the town of Grindavík, which has become a very dangerous place. This is all thoroughly monitored by Icelandic authorities. Iceland is a volcanic island, and all the above areas are within a hazardous zone. There is a significant risk of a major disaster occurring in the lagoon, as well as in the town of Grindavík and at the Svartsengi power plant. These locations are situated within one of Iceland's 40 volcanic systems. The Icelandic authorities are closely monitoring the situation. 


Currently, the Blue Lagoon is open.


The Blue Lagoon geothermal pool in Iceland
The Blue Lagoon geothermal pool in Iceland

In recent years, the Blue Lagoon geothermal bath and spa at the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland has become a tourist landmark. It has acquired global renown, similar to Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It is one of the most iconic attractions in Iceland, a place most tourists are eager to see and experience when visiting Iceland, along with its other famed natural wonders. The Blue Lagoon has thus become the most popular tourist destination in Iceland for a good reason. It is one of the few places on the planet where you can dip into geothermal water that is heated by the forces of nature, in a comfortable ambiance and feel the soothing waters relax every tense muscle in your body. The basic source of the bath is not technology but the glowing magma that lurks a short distance below the surface, below the lagoon. The lava holds a lot of water heated by magma. It is one of the wonders of Mother Nature, but only on a volcanic island.


Blue Lagoon is located at Reykjanes Peninsula on the map of Iceland
Blue Lagoon is located at Reykjanes Peninsula on the map of Iceland

Workers’ Favorite Haunt

These unique geothermal baths were probably first discovered in the 1970s by the workers building the power plant. During construction, the workers used this natural pool to wash and relax after a long and exhausting day. Soon, the word spread about the water's extraordinary qualities. It is extremely rich in silica and sulfur, and thus an became an excellent cure for skin diseases like psoriasis. Additionally, it was great for relaxation and comfort.


How the healing Blue Lagoon was discovered

The Blue Lagoon in the middle of the lavafield
The Blue Lagoon in the middle of the lavafield

Icelanders warm their houses with geothermal heating. We build power plants that capture the hot water in the ground and send it to radiators in houses in populated areas. This is our version of green renewable energy. When the municipalities were building the Geothermal heating plant by the mountain Svartsengi on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the late seventies, a large lagoon of additional water appeared in the lava nearby. The lava was not porous enough for the water to disappear into the lava soil. The plant was built to heat the houses in the towns of Keflavik, Grindavík, Njarðvík and Vogar. Initially, people noticed the small lake because of the beautiful color of its waters and their milky texture. The first attempt to enjoy the pool was by youth dipping into it on a bright summer night and having fun with some drinks. Valur Margeirsson, a young man in the nearby town of Keflavik, was battling with Psoriasis disease. Somehow, he got the idea that the water and the natural chemicals in the lagoon could help his skin to heal. Needless to say, his family and friends were skeptical and deeply so was the head physician at the dermatology department at the National Hospital, who warned Mr. Margeirsson against diving into this unknown combination of sea, water and chemicals from the ground. His dermatologist, on the other hand, encouraged him to try bathing in the new lagoon. After obtaining permission from the CEO of the Svartsengi Power Plant, Mr. Margeirsson dived into the Blue Lagoon in September 1981. He was delighted to find, after bathing a few times, that swimming in the new geothermal blue lagoon was indeed curing the disease. In the following years, more people with psoriasis started to dip into the blue lagoon to find a cure, or at least ease their symptoms. And later, others began to swim in the lagoon for fun and slowly but surely, the Blue Lagoon was established. Today, it boasts of thousands of visitors every day of the year, making it one of the best-known tourist destinations in Iceland. A few years ago, Mr. Margeirsson, the man who discovered the Blue Lagoon, passed away at the age of 66.


A lagoon from the Geothermal Power Plant became a popular bath

Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Blue Lagoon in Iceland

During the initial years, public spas were operated at the original site. However, the natural setting proved to be a bit dangerous, resting as it did in the middle of a lava field. The bottom of the pool was riddled with fissures, with some hidden rocks acting as traps. A company was formed to build a new and safe pool. As the lagoon became more convenient to bathe in, it attracted increasing numbers of visitors. The current pool is man-made and regulated as per both security and health regulations. The nearby power plant, Svartsengi, feeds the pool through its water output and the water is renewed every two days. Here we must remember that it is green power and a natural renewable energy.


Is a visit to the Blue Logon worth it?

Swimming in the Blue Lagoon
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon

I have met hundreds of people who visited Iceland traveling on their own, with private guides, and with large tour companies on a bus. Without exception, all those who visited the Blue Lagoon were ecstatic about it. It is truly a special place, offering a unique experience. It is both relaxing and a bit exotic as you swim in the blue water within the lava. At the same time, the lagoon and the buildings are all of the highest quality. The same can be said about the service, the baths, the café, and the restaurants. It is truly a high-quality destination in Iceland and a place you would love to visit. Although most of the visitors enjoy it, they are not convinced they would ever visit the Blue Lagoon again if they return to Iceland. It is more like a one-time experience.


Recently renovated, and a true joy to visit

Very recently, the Blue Lagoon and its environs were renovated and are now a state-of-the-art Geothermal Pool. The water temperature in the lagoon's bathing and swimming areas is on average 37-39°C (90 - 100°F). Besides the public pools, Blue Lagoon also operates a research and development facility for finding cures for skin ailments, using the mineral-rich water.

The Blue Lagoon is a high quality one of a kind tourist attraction
The Blue Lagoon is a high quality one of a kind tourist attraction

The Blue Lagoon is extremely accessible. You go to Road Nr. 41, which is the first road most visitors take when in Iceland, which connects the International Airport at Keflavík and Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. About 30 kilometers from Reykjavík, you turn south on Road Nr. 43 to the town of Grindavík. A few kilometers before you come to Grindavík, the Geothermal Power Plant at Svartsengi will come into your view, with convenient signs leading you to the Blue Lagoon on Road Nr. 426.




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