The likelihood of a volcanic eruption in Iceland remains high after the country recorded approximately 1,700 earthquakes within the past 24 hours.
“Seismicity related to the magma intrusion that formed suddenly a week ago remains high and constant. Approximately 1,700 earthquakes have been recorded in the last 24 hours, 1.000 of those recorded since midnight. The largest earthquake during the last 24 hours had a magnitude of 2.8 and occurred near Hagafell, 3.5 km NNE of Grindavík,” the Icelandic Met Office reports.
From the Icelandic Met Office:
Seismicity related to the magma intrusion that formed suddenly a week ago remains high and constant, although the level of activity is substantially lower than 10 – 12 November 2023. Approximately 2,000 earthquakes have been recorded in the last 24 hours, with most activity in an area north of Hagafell, towards the Sundhnúkar craters. Most of the seismicity is micro-earthquake activity comprising earthquakes under M 1. The largest earthquake during the last 24 hours occurred at 06:35 near Hagefell; it had a magnitude of 3.0.
According to GPS measurements, ground deformation continues but at a decreasing rate. The latest geophysical models based on GPS data and satellite imagery indicate that the largest movements in the magma intrusion are occurring north of Grindavík, near Hagafell. If magma manages to reach the surface, Hagafell is thought to be a prime location for an eruption.Advertisement
Subsidence over the magma intrusion remains active, although measurements show a slight slowdown from day to day. Presently, GPS stations located in and around Grindavík, near the center of the subsidence zone, show about 3–4 cm of subsidence per day.
Based on the interpretation of the latest data and model results, a volcanic eruption remains likely, with the highest likelihood of it starting north of Grindavík near Hagafell.
The country is making preparations to shield a geothermal power plant from lava flows if a volcanic eruption does occur.
BREAKING REPORT: Iceland now bracing for 'IMMINENT' Volcanic eruption..
1700 earthquakes have been registered in the past 24 hours.
Preparations now underway to PROTECT the countries thermo-nuclear power plant..
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) November 18, 2023
Icelandic authorities were on Tuesday preparing to build defence walls around a geothermal power plant in the southwestern part of the country that they hope will protect it from lava flows amid concerns about an imminent volcanic eruption.
Seismic activity and underground lava flows intensified on the Reykjanes peninsula near the capital Reykjavik over the weekend, prompting authorities to evacuate nearly 4,000 people from the fishing town of Grindavik on Saturday.
The probability of an eruption remained high despite a decrease in seismic activity, the Icelandic Meteorological Institute said in a statement on Tuesday.
Nearly 800 earthquakes were recorded in the area between midnight and noon on Tuesday, fewer than the two previous days, it said.
“Less seismic activity typically precedes an eruption, because you have come so close to the surface that you cannot build up a lot of tension to trigger large earthquakes,” said Rikke Pedersen, who heads the Nordic Volcanological Centre based in Reykjavik.
“It should never be taken as a sign that an outbreak is not on the way,” she said.
Authorities said they were preparing to construct a large dyke designed to divert lava flows around the Svartsengi geothermal power plant, located just over 6 kilometres (4 miles) from Grindavik.
Justice Minister Gudrun Hafsteinsdottir told state broadcaster RUV that equipment and materials that could fill 20,000 trucks were being moved to the plant.
Footage emerged from Iceland earlier this week showing a giant crack running through the center of Grindavík.