Over the past few days, the Reykjanes peninsula has been shaken by numerous earthquakes (more than 1,500 in two days, some of them of magnitude 5 on the Richter scale), indicating significant magma movement beneath the region and raising fears of an imminent volcanic eruption. On the surface, there are numerous signs of deep-seated magma movement, with numerous cracks in roads and buildings. A 15-kilometre-long fault is being closely monitored by scientists, as magma could take advantage of this fault network to quickly reach the surface.
As a precautionary measure, the Icelandic authorities have evacuated the 4,000 inhabitants of the town of Grindavik, located just above the underground magma movements. The area concerned is also a popular tourist destination south of Reykjavik, with the famous Blue Lagoon natural hot springs. The Svartsengi geothermal power station is also close to the likely area of the future eruption.
For the moment, it’s impossible to say where and when the volcanic eruption will occur, but the latest scientific data suggest that the volume of magma involved is very large, and that the eruption will be significant in terms of intensity.
Everyone remembers the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which paralyzed air traffic in Europe for several days.
Categorised in: Volcanology