New volcanic eruption in Iceland: authorities evacuate Grindavik after another river of magma emerges

The small Icelandic town of Grindavik had to be evacuated, for the second time in as many months, early this Sunday after an eruption of two magma cracks reminiscent of the one that occurred in Novemberwhen the 4,000 inhabitants of the city had to urgently leave their homes.

The river of magma that has emerged from within the earth has begun to devour the first homes in the townaccording to images captured by Icelandic public radio television RUV.

A first crack appeared around 08:00, between 500 meters and one kilometer in lengthhad put the Icelandic authorities on alert after verifying that the expelled magma had surpassed the containment barriers that were being installed and had come close to just 450 meters from the first homes in the north of the town.

Furthermore, shortly after noon, a second fissure appeared unexpectedly, very close to the city, which “changes the situation completely”in the words of Professor of Petrology and Volcanology Thorvaldur Thordarson in statements to RUV.

One hopes that it will end up extinct, but right now it is just a hope. Right now it is a very small crack but, being where it is, it doesn’t look good,” she indicated.

The mayor of Grindavik, Fannar Jónassonhas also confirmed the existence of this second fissure and warned that “right now this is a new situation and the prospects are quite ominous.”

Icelandic Civil Defense is closely monitoring the situation and remembers that most of the town was empty before the evacuation order this morning because many of its occupants have not yet returned after the first order in November.

Right now the rescue services are working to prevent magma from destroying machines and vehicles in the town’s industrial zonean important fishing area in southwestern Iceland.

A dormant zone for 800 years until 2020

The area had lain dormant for almost 800 years until early 2020, when intense seismic activity began on the peninsula, and magma began to emerge in 2021. The current eruption is the fifth since then.

Although Iceland is accustomed to eruptions, residents have not experienced an event threatening inhabited areas on such a scale since 1973, when part of a town of about 5,000 people was buried under lava on the Westman Islands.

One of the most disturbing volcanic events in the recent history of the Nordic country occurred in 2010, when the ‘Eyjafjallajokull’ volcano It erupted with an explosion that released a plume of ash so enormous that it paralyzed air traffic across Europe for weeks, causing the cancellation of 100,000 flights and affecting more than 10 million people.

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