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Iceland is currently evacuating a town and has raised its aviation alert level due to concerns of a potential volcanic eruption.
Europe Science & Health

Iceland is currently evacuating a town and has raised its aviation alert level due to concerns of a potential volcanic eruption.

On Saturday, citizens of a fishing community in southwest Iceland evacuated their homes due to growing worry over a potential volcanic eruption. This prompted civil defense officials to declare a state of emergency in the area.

The police in Iceland have chosen to remove the residents of Grindavik due to recent earthquakes in the region. The seismic activity has shifted towards the south, and the Meteorological Office has detected a path of magma under the town. Grindavik, a town of 3,400 people, is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, approximately 50 kilometers from the capital city of Reykjavik.

The Meteorological Office stated that it is currently not feasible to accurately predict if and where magma may surface.

The authorities have elevated their aviation alert status to orange, signaling a higher possibility of a volcanic eruption. Volcanic eruptions can be extremely dangerous for airplanes as they release abrasive ash particles into the air, which can lead to engine failure, harm flight control systems, and decrease visibility.

In 2010, a significant volcanic eruption in Iceland resulted in extensive interference with air travel between Europe and North America. This caused airlines to incur approximately $3 billion in losses due to the cancellation of over 100,000 flights.

The area has experienced a series of frequent tremors for over two weeks, prompting authorities to order an evacuation. Scientists are closely monitoring the accumulation of molten rock approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) below the surface.

Worries about a potential eruption rose on Thursday morning after a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck the region, resulting in the temporary closure of the popular Blue Lagoon geothermal resort.

According to geology professor Pall Einarrson, the recent seismic activity originated in a region north of Grindavik that contains a system of craters dating back 2,000 years. The professor also stated that the magma pathway is approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in length and expanding.

The largest earthquakes have occurred in that location, specifically beneath a group of old craters. However, the magma corridor has since extended and now runs beneath the developed area of Grindavík, and is continuing to move towards the ocean,” he stated.