The small fishing town of Grindavik has been transformed into a ghost town as the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula continues to rumble. According to the Iceland Met Office, the likelihood of a volcanic eruption in the coming days is high. This prediction comes after a dormant period of 800 years, with the last eruption occurring in 2021. Researchers, such as Cambridge volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer, believe that this recent volcanic blast has initiated a new eruptive phase that could last for centuries.
Unleashing Nature’s Fury
The coastal town of Grindavik has experienced a staggering 1,100 earthquakes in recent days, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. As magma rises closer to the Earth’s surface, homes have been torn apart and giant cracks have appeared on the main roads, rendering them impassable. The damage is so extensive that around 4,000 residents have been forced to evacuate the area for their safety.
One resident described the harrowing experience, stating that the earthquakes seemed never-ending. They evacuated their home with only a few belongings, expecting to return the next day to retrieve more. The uncertainty and fear that come with living on unstable ground have taken an emotional toll on the affected residents.
Evacuation and Sulphur Dioxide Concerns
In response to the volcanic activity, authorities ordered the evacuation of Grindavik and surrounding areas. However, some residents were allowed to briefly return to collect their personal belongings before being urged to leave again. This decision was prompted by increased levels of sulphur dioxide, a gas often released during volcanic eruptions. Its presence is a possible indicator that an eruption is imminent.
Living on Shaky Ground
The residents of Grindavik are facing an unprecedented challenge as they grapple with the uncertainty of their future. The ground beneath their feet has become unstable, and the threat of another eruption looms large. Edward W. Marshall, a researcher at the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center, warns that the Reykjanes region may see eruptions for the next few hundred years. This realization has left many residents with a mix of emotions, from fear to sadness and a sense of displacement.
Houses in Grindavík, Iceland, are starting to show the damage caused by the hundreds of earthquakes rocking the nation.
The likelihood of volcanic eruption remains high.
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) November 15, 2023
This is Grindavík today.
It remains evacuated. Roads are damaged. Residents have been allowed quickly to collect possessions in a controlled police operation. We were able to access briefly escorted by police. Steam is rising from damaged water pipes. #Iceland #grindavík pic.twitter.com/AGM8Tgj0lm
— Laura Goehler (@LauraGoehler) November 15, 2023
— Volcaholic ???? (@volcaholic1) November 15, 2023
#BREAKING : The Fagradal volcano in Iceland is about to erupt! There were approximately 1,485 earthquakes in 48 hours.#Iceland #Grindavík #IcelandEarthquakes #icelandvolcano #earthquake #Icelandearthquake pic.twitter.com/Xb07Nd98jo
— mishikasingh (@mishika_singh) November 13, 2023