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  • Sunday, 14 July 2024
Imminent Volcanic Threat Looms Over Iceland's Grindavik

Imminent Volcanic Threat Looms Over Iceland's Grindavik

Southwest Iceland is on high alert as seismic activity signals an impending volcanic eruption in the town of Grindavik. The Icelandic Met Office has recorded up to 2,000 earthquakes, with over 1000 earthquakes rattling the Reykjanes Peninsula on Saturday night alone.

 

Grindavik, home to 4,000 people, faces imminent devastation as magma lurks less than 800m below the surface, prompting a state of emergency in Iceland. A 15km-long river of magma beneath the peninsula poses a threat to Grindavik, which has now been evacuated as subsidence damages roads and cracks emerge in the town.

 

This eruption stems from the Reykjanes volcanic system, just 35 miles from Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, which was dormant for 800 years until the 2021 eruption. Evacuations occurred after over 1,000 tremors, signalling the rise of molten rock pooling in a 10-mile tunnel. Unlike previous eruptions, the sheer volume of molten rock raises concerns about explosive contact with water if the eruption happens off-shore, potentially producing an ash cloud.

 

Iceland's geological history, shaped by its position on the mid-Atlantic ridge, makes eruptions a regular occurrence. Despite Iceland's volcanic nature, the potential impact of this eruption heightens fears of disruption similar to the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010.

 

The seismic activity has affected key infrastructure, with damage reported along a crucial north-south road and preventive measures in place. Since late October, the Reykjanes peninsula has experienced a staggering 24,000 tremors. The Svartsengi geothermal plant, vital for electricity and water supply, has activated contingency plans.

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