A massive amount of magma is rumbling beneath the surface of Grindavik, a fishing town in southwestern Iceland. This has caused thousands of earthquakes and left a large fissure running through the city. The Icelandic Meteorological Agency has warned that Hagafell is a ‘prime site for an eruption’ after magmatic gas was discovered in a borehole in Svartsengi. This discovery signals that an eruption is inevitable.
Over 4,000 residents have already been evacuated from Grindavik and neighboring towns due to the state of emergency that has been declared. Volcanologist Haraldur Sigurðsson predicts that if an eruption occurs, it could potentially erupt into the sea and require Grindavik to be ‘reorganized’. Authorities allowed residents to return home for just five minutes to retrieve valuables and pets before being evacuated again.
Icelanders are well-versed in volcanic activity as they live above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. However, this instability could last for decades according to Matthew Roberts from the IMO. He stated that we can expect volcanic eruptions along the entire peninsula, not just in one location. This morning, the Reykjanes peninsula was hit by a magnitude 3.7 earthquake, adding to the tension in the region.