Imminent volcano eruption puts Iceland on high alert

A volcanic eruption can occur at any time near Grindavík, on the Reykjanes peninsula, in Iceland, and there is a risk of fissures opening. Because of this, police evacuated the region on Saturday (2) and advised that anyone entering the region should exercise extreme caution.

The estimate is that by the end of Tuesday, the 5th, the volume of lava below Svartsengi, north of Grindavík, will reach around 9 million cubic meters. According to a statement from the Icelandic Met Office (IMO), this volume is quite similar to the range of previous eruptions.

Grindavík was evacuated yesterday, as was the Svartsengi area, where it was believed an eruption could begin at that time. In Grindavík, there is considered to be a high risk of fissure landslides, lava flows and fissure movements.

Icelandic Civil Defense, in a statement published on Facebook, on Sunday, 3

Map of risk areas published by IMO (Credit: Icelandic Met Office)
Map of risk areas published by IMO (Credit: Icelandic Met Office)

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Risk of rash

The last eruption in the region took place on February 8, and after that the population was allowed to return to the city. Currently, walls partially protect Grindavík from the lava flow, but some are still being built and there is also a risk of fissures. Because of this, a new evacuation had to be carried out, and the police do not recommend that people remain there.

  • The weekend's seismic activity was initially recorded 4.8 km northeast of Grindavík,
  • This indicated that the magma was heading south towards Grindavík, but stopped before reaching the city;
  • Authorities believe a magma flow could occur in the coming days, increasing the likelihood of an eruption.
The city of Grindavík was evacuated by Icelandic police (Credit: Einar Photo/ shutterstock)
The city of Grindavík was evacuated by Icelandic police due to the risk of an eruption (Credit: Einar Photo/ shutterstock)

Forecasts are that if the volcano erupts, it will happen in the area between Stóra-Skógfell and Hagafell, located between 5.9 and 2 kilometers northeast of Grindavík. In this region, the Blue Lagoon resort, the Northern Light Geothermal Plant Inn and HS Orka in Svartsengi are located.

Around 600 to 800 Blue Lagoon guests have already been evacuated since March 2 and important structures in the region have been protected against the lava flow. Although, until then, it is not certain that the eruption will happen, the possibility cannot be ruled out.

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