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Huge crack opens up in Iceland town as residents evacuated over volcano fears
November 13, 2023
Police evacuated the Icelandic town of Grindavik after seismic activity in the area moved south towards the town, with a corridor of magma, or semi-molten rock, now thought to be extending under the community, Iceland’s Meteorological Office said.
The quakes and ground lift caused by the magma intrusion have already resulted in damage to roads and buildings in Grindavik and its surroundings.
A large crack also tore up the greens on the Grindavik golf course, an image that was widely shared on social media networks.
Vidir Reynisson, head of Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Management, expressed deep concern about the potential impact of the eruption on the town’s infrastructure and houses.
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Grindavik, located about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of Reykjavik, is situated near the Svartsengi geothermal plant, which supplies electricity and water to 30,000 residents on the Reykjanes peninsula, as well as a freshwater reservoir.
The town is also in close proximity to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa resort, a popular tourist destination, which closed as a precaution earlier in the week.
Reynisson stated that the magma is currently at a very shallow depth, indicating an imminent eruption within a couple of hours at the shortest, but at least within a couple of days.
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The most likely scenario would be a fissure opening in the ground near Grindavik, which is approximately 15 kilometres long.
However, Reynisson did not rule out the possibility of an eruption on the ocean floor, which could potentially cause a large ash cloud.
Iceland has declared a state of emergency and ordered the mandatory evacuation of Grindavik. Emergency shelters and help centres have opened in several nearby towns, but most Grindavik residents were reported to be staying with friends or relatives.