The Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland has been preparing for a volcanic eruption for days. Over the weekend, cracks appeared in the ground and steam is rising from the depths. The Icelandic Meteorological Office warns of a “significant risk” of an eruption in the coming days and points to the town of Grindavik, which was completely evacuated on Friday, as the most likely location.
Grindavik, with a population of around 3,000, is about 42 kilometers southwest of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. Little has changed since earlier this week in the overall assessment of the burgeoning volcano, which could erupt on a “timescale of days”, according to the Met Office. Between 00:00 and 14:00 on Thursday local time, around 1,200 earthquakes were recorded. The magma is still believed to be around 2,500 feet from the surface, but an update from the Met Office warns that “the intrusion is slowly propagating upwards.”
Land has subsided up to 5 feet west of Grindavik and has risen up to 3 feet to the east. There are indications that this impending eruption may contain “significantly” more magma than previous similar eruptions in the past two years.
For now, officials are still anxiously waiting and watching.