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Experts have cautioned that a volcanic eruption in Iceland could potentially devastate the town of Grindavik or result in widespread ash clouds.
Over the past few days, the country has experienced over 2,000 small earthquakes, causing concerns that they may interfere with the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland.
As a safety precaution, thousands of people in Grindavik have been instructed to evacuate due to the presence of a magma tunnel beneath the surface.
Volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson cautioned that if a volcanic eruption takes place within or near the town, the aftermath would be catastrophic.
He informed RUV, a news website, that the news was extremely negative. A possible severe scenario would be an eruption directly within the town, similar to what happened in Vestmannaeyjar 50 years ago.
Ármann states that this would be significantly worse.
Ragga Ágústdóttir, a nearby resident of Grinvadik, expressed concerns about the potential consequences of an eruption.
She informed The Independent that the current situation is that the event will take place either in or slightly above the town of Grindavik. There are no favorable choices available.
Experts say that if a volcanic eruption does not occur in Grinvadik, it could happen in the sea.
Gisli Olafsson, a member of parliament, expressed hope that the country would not have to face the worst possible outcomes.
“I am posting on X, previously known as Twitter, to inform about the worsening state of Grinvadik. The town has endured significant destruction from both earthquakes and the rising magma.”
According to him, a 15km tunnel of magma could potentially result in a fissure eruption at a vent, due to the chamber below the region being twice the size of past eruptions in Reykjanes within the recent years.
There is a possibility that the eruption may take place beneath the ocean, leading to a powerful explosion and widespread ash clouds, according to the speaker.
He stated that scientists have cautioned about the danger of not being able to provide advanced notice when the magma reaches the surface, making it risky to enter.
Residents experienced a calmer night as only 880 earthquakes with a magnitude below three were recorded, a decrease from the previous 1,485 earthquakes that had been felt in the country in the past few days.
Around 3,000 individuals have been relocated, with numerous being compelled to abandon their pets.
According to RUV, a meeting held on Saturday afternoon concluded that only individuals from the Þórkätlustað area were allowed to quickly go back and gather essential items.
Professor Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, an expert in geophysics, informed RUV that seismic activity is ongoing, although it has decreased in intensity. He outlined three possible scenarios: the first is an eruption near Grindavik or north of the town; the second is no eruption at all; and the third, which is the least probable according to Mr. Guðmundsson, is an underwater eruption.
Iceland is at a high risk for natural disasters due to its location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is a boundary between two plates, the North American and Eurasian, that are moving apart from each other. This movement often results in volcanic activity and earthquakes.
According to Thorvaldur Thordarson, a professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, an eruption may occur within hours or a few days as the likelihood has greatly risen. This statement was made to state broadcaster RUV yesterday.
In March 2021, a volcanic and seismic activity occurred in the Reykjanes area, located southwest of the capital city Reykjavik. Lava fountains were seen erupting from a fissure in the ground that stretched between 500 to 750 meters in the Fagradalsfjall volcanic system.