There are growing fears that a volcanic eruption could happen at any time in Iceland after a newly discovered 15km long “magma filled crack” has emerged “extremely quickly,” Icelandic meteorologists warn.
Last Friday “about 3,000 people” were ordered to evacuate from the town of Grindavik after large cracks appeared across roads and through towns and villages emitting smoke.
Authorities are trying to protect key infrastructure, especially the Svartsengi geothermal power plant and build defensive walls to protect against lava flows, which is situated behind the world famous tourist site of the Blue Lagoon.
The head of the Department for Public Safety warned that the area is “sinking” and that “new cracks are constantly forming.”
Matthew James Roberts of the Icelandic Met Office warned that there is “tremendous uncertainty” and it is not known what the severity of damage the volcanic eruption could do.
Volcano eruption in Iceland. Expected to potentially get worse. The government has planned to organize mass transfers. pic.twitter.com/E5jHEiMzgt
— John (@John46707736522) November 14, 2023
The head of the Geoscience Research Department at the Icelandic Met Office, Kristin Jonsdottir warned that this is a “really bad scenario” for the town of Grindavik.
She told Sky News, “What has happened extremely quickly is we have a magma-filled crack – a very long one.
“It’s extends over about 15km, it’s a vertical crack and it’s a really bad scenario since at the southern end, the crack goes through the town where about 3,000 people live.”
An old map of #Grindavík from 1957 shows an ancient crack running through the entire city exactly like the one recorded this weekend #Iceland #icelandvolcano #volcano #VOLCANOERUPTION #IcelandEarthquakes #IcelandNews #Volcan pic.twitter.com/EqTZ82L9nt
— WarMonitoreu (@WarMonitoreu) November 14, 2023
She added, “Very quickly on Friday in the afternoon this magma-filled crack was formed,” warning that an ash cloud is something “we cannot exclude” at this time.
Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London it is “highly likely” there will be an eruption in the next few days.
Professor McGuire told the broadcaster, “If it is on land, which is most likely, it will be dominated by spectacular lava ‘fountaining’ and the production of lava flows.
New aerial footage from Grindavik, Iceland, shows a large crack in the center of the town with apparent steam emanating from it. pic.twitter.com/Mjlxafr8ot
— Nahel Belgherze (@WxNB_) November 13, 2023
“If magma breaks the surface at the southern end of the fracture, however, it could erupt beneath the sea. This would be a more explosive event that would build a cone of fragmental material.”