Iceland is on high alert as authorities have taken the necessary precautions to evacuate approximately 3,000 residents from a southwestern town due to concerns of an impending volcanic eruption. The decision to evacuate was prompted by a series of earthquakes and signs of underground magma movement reported by the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Experts have warned of a significant risk of eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula owing to the substantial size of the magma intrusion and its rapid advancement. Rather than offering a quote, it can be described that Thorvaldur Thordarson, a prominent professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, expressed his belief in an inevitable eruption within a matter of hours or days during an interview with state broadcaster RUV.
To ensure the safety of residents, Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency issued a complete evacuation order for Grindavik, a neighboring fishing town. However, officials stress that this was not an emergency evacuation. While the Reykjanes region has experienced eruptions in uninhabited areas in recent times, the current situation presents an immediate risk to the town.
Apart from the potential danger, increased seismic activity compelled authorities to temporarily close the renowned Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a popular attraction for tourists in Iceland.
Spanning the southwestern part of the country, the Reykjanes region is renowned for its volcanic and seismic activity. The Fagradalsfjall volcanic system within the area witnessed dramatic lava fountains emerging from a fissure spanning between 500 to 750 meters in March 2021, which continued for six months. Subsequent eruptions occurred in August 2022 and July of this year.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is there a possibility of a volcanic eruption in Iceland?
A: Yes, Icelandic authorities have evacuated residents from a town in the southwest of the island due to concerns of an imminent volcanic eruption.
Q: Why was the town evacuated?
A: The evacuation was prompted by a series of earthquakes and evidence of underground magma movement reported by the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Q: How long before an eruption is expected?
A: Experts, such as volcanology professor Thorvaldur Thordarson, believe that an eruption could take place within a matter of hours or a few days.
Q: Is the current evacuation an emergency measure?
A: No, although the evacuation is comprehensive, officials emphasize that it is not an emergency evacuation.
Q: What is the history of volcanic activity in the Reykjanes region?
A: The Reykjanes region has experienced eruptions in uninhabited areas in recent years. The Fagradalsfjall volcanic system, which remained inactive for over 6,000 years, witnessed eruptions in March 2021, August 2022, and July of this year.
Q: Are there any other notable consequences of the increased seismic activity?
A: Yes, the heightened activity led to the temporary closure of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a popular tourist destination in Iceland.