Iceland declares state of emergency, evacuates residents over threat of volcanic eruption

iceland earthquake
A lava field formed after the 2021 eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano. The site is located close to the town Grindavik on Iceland's southwest coast. Raul Moreno/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/AP

A suspected volcanic eruption has triggered a strong series of earthquakes in southwest Iceland, prompting police to proclaim a state of emergency and order inhabitants of the coastal town of Grindavík to leave.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office reported that between midnight and two p.m. on Friday, there were about eight hundred recorded earthquakes, the shallowest of which was 3-3.5 kilometers (1.86-2.18 miles) deep.

Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency stated in statements on Friday that Grindavík might be reached by a magma tube that is currently being built. However, the Icelandic authorities stated that as of Friday night, it was hard to predict when and where the magma may erupt to the surface.

Earthquakes might get more powerful than they now are, and this chain of events might result in an eruption. Still, there aren’t any indications that the magma is getting closer to the surface. We are keeping a careful eye on its development, the Civil Protection Agency stated.

Magma is a mixture of semi-molten and molten rock that is found beneath the Earth’s surface. When it rises to the surface and turns into lava, it has the potential to create an eruption.

Authorities stressed that there was no immediate threat and asked locals to leave quietly.

We would want to stress once more that everyone living in the town MUST vacate their homes. However, we also want to stress that there is plenty of time to get ready, secure your belongings, and leave town in a composed manner; this is not an emergency evacuation, the Civil Protection Agency stated.

It is evident that we are dealing with situations that Icelanders have never encountered before, at least not since Vestmannaeyjar erupted. The Civil Protection Agency continued, We faced that together, we shall confront this together, and we will not lose heart.

A volcano alert was released by the US Embassy in Iceland, informing people of the heightened signals of volcanic activity.

If there is an eruption, heed the authorities in Iceland. It stated that hazardous gasses, lava, and thick smoke from lava-started fires are examples of volcanic risks.

Because of the continuous earthquake activity in the vicinity, the well-known Blue Lagoon thermal pool has already closed.

Nearly every 12 months since 2021, there has been an eruption; the most recent one occurred in July south of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.

Iceland is situated on a tectonic plate boundary that is constantly rupturing, forcing Eurasia and North America apart along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Thirty-two of its volcanoes are active.

Credits: CNN

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