Authorities raised Iceland on high alert due to recurring and unprecedented seismic events over the recent weeks on the south-western peninsula near the capital city of Reykjavík, as residents of the Nordic island nation brace themselves for a possible volcano eruption.
According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), more than 40,000 earthquakes have occurred in Grindavik since Feb. 24.
“But this is the first time we see it here in the neighborhood of the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik and it’s a new experience for a lot of people now, to feel earthquakes every day,” said Pall Einarsson, Professor Emeritus of Geophysics at the University of Iceland.
This number of recent earth tremors is more than the total number of earthquakes that occurred in the region in 2020.
Grindavik is a town located in the southern part of the Reykjanes Peninsula, a region that has been considered as a hot spot of volcanic and seismic activities in the country.
“We’ve never seen so much seismic activity,” said Sara Barsotti, a volcanic hazard coordinator at IMO. “Natural hazard specialists are on duty 24 hours a day, so we have, so we have people looking at this data in real time day and night.”
Even though the area has not seen any volcanic activity for the past 800 years, Barsotti said that people of the Nordic country must be prepared and vigilant due to the unpredictable nature of volcanic activity.
“We are seeing evidence of magma moving about on the plate boundary and there is a real possibility that this will get to the surface, and feed an eruption on the surface,” Einarsson said.
Despite raising Iceland on high alert, experts said that they do not expect to see a violent and explosive eruption aside from “fairly harmless lava eruptions.”
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