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Iceland to brace for volcanic eruption, with authorities warning of a potential eruption following a staggering 800 earthquakes in just 14 hours. The Icelandic Civil Protection Agency has initiated safety measures, including the complete evacuation of Grindavik, a town of 3,000 residents southwest of the island.
Experts express concerns over Grindavik’s proximity to Reykjavik’s capital, as it risks significant damage from a potential volcanic event. The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a renowned tourist spot in the vicinity, has preemptively closed its doors.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office highlights a “considerable” eruption risk on or near the Reykjanes peninsula due to an extensive underground magma intrusion. With magma reaching shallow depths, an eruption is anticipated within hours to days.
The Reykjanes region, a seismic hot spot, has witnessed previous eruptions in uninhabited areas. However, the impending eruption, expected just southwest of Grindavik, raises concerns for the local population’s safety.
In recent weeks, tens of thousands of tremors have been felt in the country, causing concern among authorities. According to Matthew James Roberts, director of the service and research division at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the situation is now characterized by tremendous uncertainty. “We are currently facing tremendous uncertainty. The question is whether there will be an eruption and, if so, what kind of damage it will cause,” he said 1.
Recent eruptions near the Fagradalsfjall volcano in 2021 and 2022 occurred far from populated areas. Still, the latest threat underscores the unpredictable nature of Iceland’s volcanic activity. Volcanologists predict that this heightened activity cycle may persist for decades.
Iceland to brace for volcanic eruption, straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, faces the geological consequences of separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Memories of the disruptive Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010, which halted air travel across Europe, loom large, highlighting the potential societal and economic impact of Iceland’s volcanic unrest.