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Iceland volcano prompts state of emergency declaration

Iceland volcano – Fears of an eruption from Iceland’s volcano, Fagradalsfjall, prompted the declaration of an emergency

Volcanic activity in the Fagradalsfjall region is shown in July drone footage.

A now-evacuated town in Iceland could be in danger of a volcanic catastrophe, experts warn.

Following several earthquakes, Iceland has declared a state of emergency.

As a precaution, authorities in the southwest town of Grindavík have ordered thousands of residents to leave.

The likelihood of an eruption was high, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO).

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According to IMO, there is a greater chance of an eruption occurring on or near the Reykjanes peninsula now than there was in the morning.

The warning said that an eruption might occur at any point during the following few days.

After 8 centuries, Volcano eruption begins Reykjanes Peninsula

According to Thor Thordason, a volcanology professor at the University of Iceland, there is still activity beneath the peninsula in the form of a nine-mile (or 15 km) magma river.

“That’s why we’re talking about an imminent eruption unfortunately. The most likely eruption side appears to be within the boundary of the town of Grinadvik,” he told the BBC.

Recent weeks have seen thousands of recorded tremors near the adjacent Fagradalsfjall volcano.

They are mostly located in the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, which was spared from volcanic activity for 800 years prior to an eruption in 2021.

At this golf course and other locations in Grindavik, earth tremors have caused the ground to give way.
The agency said in a statement on Saturday that the estimated depth of a magma tunnel, or molten rock tunnel, which stretches northeast across Grindavik and about 10 km farther inland, is less than 800 meters, as opposed to 1,500 meters earlier in the day.

Thursday saw the closure of the neighboring Blue Lagoon monument due to an upsurge in seismic activity in the vicinity.

Since late October, there have been over 20,000 recorded tremors in southwest Iceland.

According to Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency, the evacuation was necessary because the IMO was unable to rule out the possibility that a “magma tunnel that is currently forming could reach Grindavík.”

And on Friday, the agency said people must leave the town, but also emphasised it was not an “emergency evacuation” – calling on them to “remain calm, because we have a good amount of time to react”.

Iceland Volcano has caused the country to declare a state of emergency

“There is no immediate danger imminent, the evacuation is primarily preventive with the safety of all Grindavík residents as the principal aim,” it added.

To ensure that vehicles can enter and exit the town, which has about 4,000 residents, all routes leading there are closed unless in cases of emergency.

Reykjavik-based journalist Alda Sigmundsdottir reported that residents were returning to the town “to get their absolute bare necessities” and pets.

“We are just currently waiting for the eruption to start,” she told the BBC’s Newshour.

In Grindavik, road damage has resulted from fissures caused by volcanic activity.
With over 30 active volcanoes, Iceland is one of the world’s most geologically active regions.

Volcanic eruptions happen when magma rises to the surface of the earth from deep below. Magma is lighter than the surrounding solid rock.

Tourists flocked to the location of the “world’s newest baby volcano” in July when Litli-Hrutur, also known as Little Ram, erupted in the Fagradalsfjall area.

After eight centuries of dormancy, the site saw eruptions in 2021, 2022, and 2023.


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