Scientists are worried: Iceland is entering a new volcanic era (7 photos + 2 videos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 0+
19 February 2024

For three years in a row, the volcano with the almost unpronounceable name Fagradalsfjall has haunted local residents.

This wayward handsome man is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula and sincerely believes that Icelandic citizens do not belong there. And indeed to all people too.

The Silingarfel volcano is not far behind; it has already erupted twice this year alone. Scientists have recorded the formation of a crack filled with lava near the volcano. The crack gradually increases, and lava flows spread throughout the surrounding area, destroying roads along the way.

Iceland's national broadcaster RUV reported that the nearby Blue Lagoon thermal resort, one of Iceland's biggest tourist attractions, was closed when the eruption began and guests were evacuated to a safer location.

Authorities are evacuating small communities located in the path of lava flows.

Near the town of Grindavik, where residents were recently evacuated, a plume of smoke and a lava flow are visible. Some roads are blocked, emergency services continue to monitor the situation.

This is the third short-lived eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula since December 2023 and the sixth since 2021. But scientists believe this is just the beginning of a period of volcanic activity that could last decades or even centuries.

Yes, of course, Iceland is no stranger to volcanoes - it is one of the most volcanically active places in the world. There are more than 100 volcanoes throughout the country, and more than 30 are currently active.

Iceland lies on the boundary between the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America. These plates move apart very slowly, creating space for hot molten rock to flow.

“Over geological time, tectonic plates move apart at about the same rate as your fingernails, which is a few centimeters per year. But they do not move apart smoothly - they pass through impulses of increased activity. And this is probably what we are seeing now in Reykjanes,” explains Professor Tamsin Mather, an earth scientist at the University of Oxford.

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