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Iceland on Alert: Surge in Earthquakes Raises Concerns of Imminent Volcanic Eruption

Saturday, November 11, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula has been hit by various earthquakes all through the day on Friday, two of which were measured above 5.0 in magnitude and at least seven over 4.5, warning that a possible eruption might come hours or days later.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office has been forced to declare a Civil Protection Emergency Level in the given area, near the Fagradalsfjall volcano, some 25 miles southwest of Reykjavik. Tremors were felt in Reykjavik, and the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Grindavik was closed. It wasn't immediately clear if activity at Fagradalsfjall was to blame for the increased seismicity or whether another eruption was brewing within the Reykjanes volcanic system.

Violent volcanic fissures could open either near or within the town of Grindavik late in the evening; hence, the inhabitants were ordered to leave. Seismic activity and GPS measurements suggest a magma intrusion possibility beneath Grindavik, according to the Meteorological Office.

Experts suspect a magmatic dike is forming right underneath the town—a sheet of magma flowing through fractures in rock. The eruption gives rise to the threat that the melting ice could send great flooding waves down the rivers leading from the glacier. International Keflavik Airport has been sent chills with a Code Orange, Level 3 out of 4 on the volcano alert scale issued.

The current seismic unrest in the region indicates a potentially more violent impending eruption, although intermittent eruptive sequences have been experienced within the region since 2021.

However, the Meteorological Office warned of similarities to the prelude of the Fagradalsfjall 2021 eruption, with an estimate of several days for magma to reach the surface. The earthquakes have caused road damage, and uplift of up to three inches has been observed near the volcano.

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