In Iceland, the city was evacuated due to a volcanic eruption (13 photos + 2 videos)

21 March 2024

For the fourth time since December, a volcanic eruption began on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland. A few days ago, a state of emergency was declared there: the lava had gotten quite close to populated areas.

A few days ago, a state of emergency was declared in the small fishing town of Grindavik in Iceland. There, a volcanic eruption began for the fourth time since December. The city had already been evacuated during an eruption in November and February, when lava from the eruption was only a few hundred meters from residential areas: during this eruption, molten lava deprived thousands of residents of hot water and heat. This time the flow of lava was stopped by artificial barriers installed near the city.

Typically, fissure eruptions occur on the Reykjanes Peninsula: lava comes out of large cracks in the volcano. At first it was rapidly moving from one crack towards Grindavik, but now the speed of the lava flow is becoming lower and lower. Authorities are also monitoring lava flowing towards the Svartsengi geothermal power plant on the peninsula. However, Keflavik Airport and regional airports in Iceland were not affected and continue to operate as usual.

The February eruption at Grindavik left more than 20,000 people without heating as lava flows destroyed roads and pipelines. Residents of Grindavik were able to return to their homes only on February 19, after being evacuated on November 11. There was also an earthquake: then hundreds of tremors damaged buildings and created huge cracks in the roads.

Iceland has 33 active volcanoes, the highest number in Europe. They are located along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack in the ocean floor that separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Until March 2021, the Reykjanes Peninsula had not experienced an eruption in eight centuries. According to volcanologists, a “new era” of seismic activity in the region is now beginning.

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