Iceland volcano: emergency declared following concerns about the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano – Iceland volcano: emergency declared following concerns about the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano – Tekedia Forum

by MMC
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The risk of a volcanic eruption in Iceland is increasing, posing a threat to a city now evacuated, experts say.

Iceland has declared a state of emergency after a series of earthquakes.

Authorities have ordered thousands of people living in the southwestern town of Grindavík to leave as a precaution. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said there was a considerable risk of an eruption.

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The likelihood of an eruption on or just off the Reykjanes Peninsula has increased since morning, IMO. An eruption could begin at any time in the coming days, according to the statement.

Thor Thordason, a professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, said a 15km-long magma river flowing beneath the peninsula was still active.

“That’s why we are unfortunately talking about an imminent eruption. The most likely side of the eruption seems to be within the city limits of Grindavík,” he told the BBC. Thousands of tremors have been recorded around the nearby Fagradalsfjall volcano in recent weeks. They are concentrated in Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, which had lain dormant due to volcanic activity for 800 years before an eruption in 2021.

In a statement released on Saturday, the agency said a tunnel of magma, or molten rock, which extends northeast through Grindavík and about 10 km further inland, has been estimated at a depth of less than 800 meters, compared to 1,500 meters earlier in the day.

On Thursday, seismic activity increased in the region. resulted in the closure of the nearby Blue Lagoon monument. More than 20,000 tremors have been recorded in southwest Iceland since the end of October. Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency said the decision to evacuate was made after IMO could not rule out that a “forming magma tunnel could reach Grindavík”.

On Friday, the agency said people should leave the city, but also stressed that it was not an “emergency evacuation,” calling on them to “remain calm, because we have enough time to react.

There is no immediate imminent danger, the evacuation is above all preventive with the main objective being the safety of all residents of Grindavík,” he added.

All roads leading to the town of about 4,000 residents are closed, except in emergencies, to ensure traffic enters and exits.

Alda Sigmundsdottir, a journalist in Reykjavik, said people were returning to the city “to get the bare necessities” and their pets. We’re just currently waiting for the eruption to start,” she told BBC’s Newshour. Iceland is one of the most geologically active regions in the world, with around 30 active volcanic sites.

Volcanic eruptions occur when magma, which is lighter than the solid rock around it, rises to the earth’s surface from deep within. In July, Litli-Hrutur, or Little Ram, erupted in the Fagradalsfjall region, attracting tourists to the site of the “world’s newest baby volcano.” The site remained inactive for eight centuries until the eruptions of 2021, 2022 and 2023.

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