A volcano in the southwestern region of Iceland erupted on Monday, sending geysers of hot lava as high as 330 feet. The eruption was located near the Svartsengi geothermal power plant near the town of Grindavík, which was evacuated last month over an increase in seismic activity, the NY Times reports.
“We are looking at a worst-case scenario,” said Icelanding volcanologist, Thorvaldur Thordarson, adding “The eruption appears big, and only about two kilometers from major infrastructure.“
Over the past two months, thousands of earthquakes have been detected in Iceland, leading to the November evacuations as homes and roads were damaged by the events. The situation deteriorated so rapidly that authorities declared a state of emergency, evacuating Grindavík – home to more than 3,000 people who live near the volcano.
Recently, the Meteorological office warned of a “significant likelihood of a volcanic eruption in coming days.”
In just the past two years, there have been three eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland’s most populated corner and home to its capital. When Grindavik was ordered evacuated on Nov. 11, the authorities said in a statement that the country was “highly prepared for such events.” -NYT
“Iceland has one of the world’s most effective volcanic preparedness measures,” reads the local website.
Authorities also raised the aviation alert to orange due to dangers posed by the volcano to passing aircraft flying in the North Atlantic in the event ash is spewed in the sky.
In 2010, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted after being dormant for nearly two centuries. While nobody died, the impact was significant as the resultant ash cloud grounded much of Europe’s air travel for over a week.
Iceland has around 400,000 residents and 130 or so volcanoes. In fact, since the 19th century, there hasn’t been a single decade without one erupting. According to the tourist website, eruptions are “entirely random.”
Mon, 12/18/2023 – 22:00