– Iceland declares a state of emergency after a series of earthquakes
The ground shook several times in the south of the country. Civil defense was placed on alert.
Authorities declared a state of emergency after a series of earthquakes struck southwest Iceland. The Civil Protection Authority said on Friday that the national police chief had taken the measure “due to the violent earthquakes that struck Sundhingjokajijar, north of Grindavik.” A state of emergency puts civil defense on alert.
The Icelandic authorities fear that other, stronger earthquakes will occur, and that the series of earthquakes will lead to a volcanic eruption. According to the Icelandic Meteorological Authority (IMO), a volcanic eruption could occur “within a few days.”
The Blue Lagoon tourist area was closed on Thursday as a precaution after a series of earthquakes. The lake is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula and is famous, among other things, for its outdoor thermal pool.
On Friday, between midnight and 2pm (local time), about 800 earthquakes were measured about three kilometers north of the town of Grindavik, population 4,000, on the Reykjanes Peninsula. According to preliminary information issued by the Meteorological Authority, the strongest of these earthquakes reached a magnitude of 5.2. The police closed the road leading to Grindavik, which was damaged by the earthquakes.
The most active volcanic area in Europe
Later on Friday afternoon, two stronger earthquakes were felt in the capital Reykjavik, about 40 kilometers from Grindavik, and in much of Iceland’s southern coast.
According to the International Maritime Organization, about 24,000 earthquakes have been measured on the Reykjanes Peninsula since the end of October. According to its own information, the Meteorological Authority discovered an accumulation of magma about five kilometers below the Earth’s surface. If magma moves toward the surface, it could lead to a volcanic eruption.
Since 2021, there have been three volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula – in March 2021, August 2022, and last July. However, these outbreaks have occurred far from populated areas or important infrastructure. Iceland is the largest and most active volcanic region in Europe.