Iceland on Edge: State of Emergency Declared Over Volcano ThreatNovember 12, 2023
Iceland declared a state of emergency on Sunday in response to a series of earthquakes, leading to the evacuation of thousands of residents in the southwestern town of Grindavík over concerns of a potential volcano eruption. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) highlighted a significant risk of an eruption, with the probability increasing on the Reykjanes peninsula.
According to Thor Thordason, a volcanology professor at the University of Iceland, the continued activity of a 9-mile long river of magma beneath the peninsula has also raised concerns. The government held an emergency cabinet meeting after the IMO stated, “The probability of an eruption has increased since this morning and an eruption could start at any time in the next few days.”
Recent weeks have seen thousands of recorded tremors around the nearby Fagradalsfjall volcano, and over 20,000 tremors have occurred in southwest Iceland since late October. The region had been dormant to volcanic activity for 800 years before experiencing an eruption in 2021. A volcano eruption is imminent, with the most likely eruption side within the boundary of the town of Grinadvik.