In the wake of a series of approximately 800 earthquakes within a span of 14 hours, Iceland is on high alert, bracing for a potential volcanic eruption. The concerns have escalated with the recent discovery of a sinkhole beneath the evacuated town of Grindavík, intensifying fears of a massive volcanic event.
Volcanologist Thorvaldur Þórðarson, speaking to Iceland's local Channel 2 Evening News, highlighted the significance of the sinkhole, suggesting that its formation in Grindavík indicated the proximity of a magma tunnel to the surface. He expressed grim anticipation, stating, "It indicates that it will soon erupt, and that, unfortunately, indicates that the eruption will occur within the town limits of Grindavík. It’s a darker scenario than I had imagined."
Over the weekend, nearly 3,000 residents were evacuated from Grindavík following the seismic activity and heightened fears of an imminent volcanic eruption. The Icelandic Meteorological Office, on November 11, reported a "considerable" risk of eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula, considering the size and movement of the underground magma intrusion.
Professor Thorvaldur Thordarson from the University of Iceland emphasized the increased likelihood of an eruption, stating, "I don’t think it’s long before an eruption, hours or a few days. The chance of an eruption has increased significantly."
The Icelandic government, responding to the escalating situation, declared a state of emergency on November 10 after powerful earthquakes struck the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula. The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management issued a statement, indicating that the state of emergency was declared due to intense earthquake activity at Sundhnjukagigar, north of Grindavik. The administration further warned of a potential eruption "in several days," emphasizing the possibility of larger earthquakes leading to a volcanic event.
As the nation remains on edge, awaiting developments, authorities are closely monitoring the situation, and contingency measures are in place to address the evolving volcanic threat.
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