Magma is approaching the surface and a volcanic eruption in Iceland is imminent

Magma is approaching the surface and a volcanic eruption in Iceland is imminent

The Icelandic government has been placed on high alert in anticipation of an imminent volcanic eruption in the country. According to the latest measurements, the magma is dangerously close to the surface of the island. For this reason, the entire population of Grindavik, numbering around four thousand people, was evacuated.

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Magma approaches the surface

The possibility of an eruption seems to be a consensus among the scientific community. The problem is knowing when this will happen and how severe the phenomenon will be.

Some clues can help predict what is to come. According to Thorvaldur Thordarson, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, a crater more than a meter deep has recently appeared in the city of Grindavik. According to him, this indicates that “it is quite clear that the magma reached a depth very close to the city.” However, he admits that it is difficult to estimate how close the magma is to the surface, but suggests that it may not exceed tens of metres.

Moreover, since the crater appeared exactly below some of the houses, the explosion likely occurred where the small town was located. For the expert, the lava is likely to move to the west towards the sea.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said it could only take a few days for the magma to reach the surface.

There are indications that a large amount of magma is moving in an area ranging from [Sundhnjúkagígur], in the north towards Grindavik. The amount of magma present is much greater than that seen in the largest magma intrusions that occurred in connection with the Vajradalsfjall volcanic eruptions.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a statement

On November 11, Icelandic Meteorological Office data showed a “magma tunnel” about 15 kilometers away. And that an eruption could occur anywhere along this path. At that time, the magma was 800 meters below the surface.

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Models also indicate that magma may appear at the southern end of the magma tunnel on the outskirts of Grindavik, according to the statement. The information is from Live sciences.

The map shows the extension of the magma tunnel that runs through the city of Grindavik (Image: Icelandic Meteorological Office)

Earthquakes are also signs of an impending eruption

  • Since the end of October, the Reykjanes Peninsula has witnessed 24,000 earthquakes.
  • Although seismic activity has decreased in recent hours, this does not mean that the explosion is far away.
  • After centuries of dormancy, the Reykjanes Peninsula has seen three eruptions since 2021, all in remote locations without threatening infrastructure or populated areas.
  • The Svartsinji geothermal power plant has also implemented emergency plans to protect the facilities and workforce in the event of an eruption.
  • With 33 active volcanic systems, Iceland, nicknamed the “Land of Fire and Ice,” boasts the highest number of volcanoes in Europe, making these natural events an intrinsic part of Icelandic life.

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