Huge cracks appear on roads in Icelandic town at risk of volcanic eruption
Fears an Icelandic volcano will erupt remain high as magma spreads underground and huge cracks appear in the roads of a town most at risk.
Seismic activity in southwestern Iceland decreased in size and intensity on Monday, but the risk of a volcanic eruption remained significant, authorities said.
Around 900 earthquakes hit the south of the country on Monday, with tens of thousands of tremors reported in the region of Reykjanes in recent weeks.
Almost 4,000 people were evacuated from Grindavik over the weekend as authorities feared that molten rock would rise to the surface of the earth and potentially hit the coastal town and a geothermal power station.
On Tuesday authorities scrambled to build a defence wall around the Svartsengi power plant, located just over six kilometers from Grindavik, to protect it from lava flows amid fears of an eruption.
Increased seismic activity in Grindavik as more than 1,900 earthquakes recorded
Seismic activity has increased after midnight at Grindavik with more than 1,900 earthquakes recorded there in the last 24 hours, according to state broadcaster RUV.
However there are no signs of an immediate eruption, said Bjarka Kaldalón Friis, a natural disaster specialist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
A sinkhole in the town widened following the seismic activity.
Benedikt Ofeigsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, believes the magma could have reached a depth of about 500m.
Shweta Sharma15 November 2023 07:00
BBC journalist was in Grindavík as evacuation began
The BBC’s Jessica Parker was reporting from Grindavik when authorities ordered an evacuation of the area over fears of an eruption.
She said she was let in very briefly in what was now an abandoned town in Iceland.
Residents were being allowed back into their homes to take their belongings in a tightly controlled operation yesterday.
She described it as a “ghost town”, expressing an eerie feeling as people evacuated.
Shweta Sharma15 November 2023 06:30
Decision on Grindavik residents’ return home to be made today
Iceland’s civil defence agency will decide whether to allow residents to return to Grindavik at a meeting later today.
Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, communications director of for the National Defence Coordination Centre, said the situation is changing every minute and a decision will be made in the meeting, according to state broadcaster RUV.
“You could say that’s what happens in the morning when the National Weather Service’s experts look at the data and see what can be done,” she said
She said decisions about the next steps are being taken constantly.
“There is a lot of talk about meetings. We found a lot. We’re in meetings all day, we’re taking stock every single hour,” she added.
She said that the response to the elevated levels of sulphur dioxide measured in Grindavik has been as planned.
Shweta Sharma15 November 2023 06:00
Iceland races to shield geothermal plant from risk of volcanic eruption
Authorities in Iceland are racing to build defence walls around the Svartsengi geothermal power plant, located just over 6kms (4 miles) from Grindavik.
It comes as the probability of an eruption remained high despite a decrease in seismic activity, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
Authorities said they were preparing to construct a large dyke designed to divert lava flows around the Svartsengi geothermal power plant.
Justice minister Gudrun Hafsteinsdottir said equipment and materials that could fill 20,000 trucks were being moved to the plant, according to state broadcaster RUV.
Construction of the protective dyke around the power station was awaiting formal approval from the government.
A spokesperson for HS Orka, operator of the power plant, said it supplies power to the entire country, although a disruption would not affect power supply to Reykjavik.
Shweta Sharma15 November 2023 05:30
Huge cracks appear on roads in volcano-threatened town
Iceland earthquakes: Huge cracks appear on roads in town at risk of volcanic eruption
Shweta Sharma15 November 2023 04:55
Iceland raises aviation alert amid volcano eruption fears
Authorities in Iceland have elevated their aviation alert to orange after increasing concern about a potential volcanic eruption.
Volcanic eruptions present a significant aviation hazard as they can release highly abrasive ash into the upper atmosphere, posing the potential for engine failure, impairment of flight control systems, and diminished visibility.
A major eruption in Iceland in 2010 caused widespread disruption to air travel between Europe and North America, costing airlines an estimated $3bn as they canceled more than 100,000 flights.
Shweta Sharma15 November 2023 04:30
Iceland Met Office says eruption status unchanged
Iceland’s Met Office confirmed that the probability of an eruption remained “unchanged” and “gas does not appear unless magma is high in the earth’s crust”.
Meteorologists continue to keep a close eye on the region which was evacuated earlier on Tuesday after high levels of sufur dioxide were detected.
Maira Butt15 November 2023 04:23
Top tourist attraction, Blue Lagoon, shut for days
Over 700,000 people visit the Blue Lagoon every year, one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions. However, it has been shut until Thursday amid risks of a huge volcanic eruption that could obliterate the town.
Countless couples have had to cancel honeymoons and holidays to the romantic venue which features natural thermal springs and pearly blue water.
The town of Grindavik has been evacuated amid rising risks of an eruption.
Maira Butt15 November 2023 03:22
Australia issues travel warning for Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula
The Australian government has issued a travel advisory for people, asking them to avoid areas near volcano eruption sites and in areas around the Reykjanes peninsula.
“Avoid areas near volcano eruption sites and areas close to mountains with steep slopes on the Reykjanes peninsula due to the danger of falling rocks,” the government’s Smarttraveller website said in an update.
“Volcanic and seismic activity around Mt. Thorbjörn, 40km southwest of Reykjavik and near the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik International Airport, has increased.”
Shweta Sharma15 November 2023 02:30
Town could be obliterated in eruption
The town of Grindavik could be obliterated in an eruption, Lydia Patrick reports.
The country has been shaken by more than 2,000 small earthquakes in the past few days, prompting fears that the tremors could disrupt the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest of the country.
Thousands have been told to evacuate Grindavik as a precautionary measure, while a magma tunnel stretches below the surface. If an eruption occurs in or close to the town, the consequences will be devastating, volcanologist Armann Hoskuldsson warned.
He told state broadcaster RUV: “This is very bad news. One of the most serious scenarios is an eruption in the town itself, similar to that in Vestmannaeyjar 50 years ago. This would be much worse.”
Ragga Agustsdottir, who lives close to Grindavik, said residents were fearful of what could happen if an eruption struck. “The scenario on the table now is that it will happen in or just north of the town of Grindavik. There’s no good option here,” she told The Independent.
Maira Butt15 November 2023 02:07