Massive earthquakes in Iceland have caused homes to split in two due to the build-up of magma beneath the surface as scientists warn of a new era of volcanic eruptions.
The Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula is now threatening to erupt, with authorities anticipating it could happen in the next few days.
After 800 years of inactivity, a new cycle of volcanic activity has begun, as one Cambridge volcanologist warned could now last centuries.
“Time’s finally up,” Edward W. Marshall, a researcher at the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center told Live Science.
“We can get ready for another few hundred years of eruptions on the Reykjanes.”
Iceland is not doin' good.. earthquake's and volcano eruption. Wow! 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/BoIw7eV8QK— 🇺🇲Ultra MAGA Trump Gal🇺🇲 (@RedactedKelly45) November 15, 2023
The region has suffered more than 800 new earthquakes since midnight, as experts fear magma is rising ever closer to the earth’s surface.
Over the last few days, thousands of quakes have turned the fishing community of Grindavik into a ‘ghost town,’ with 4,000 residents forced to evacuate.
As The Daily Mail reported: Those who were allowed to return to their properties with emergency services to collect belongings were ordered to evacuate yesterday after the Icelandic Met Office said its meters had detected increased levels of sulfur dioxide – a possible indicator of an eruption.
Videos have shown apocalyptic scenes in the deserted town, with homes torn apart and gaping chasms opening up in roads.
Mother-of-four Magga Huld AfaÖmmudóttir said her family was left homeless after the quake.
“Friday was terrible; the earthquakes did not stop for many hours, but we left our house Friday night at 9.00pm with clothes for two days and two boxes of photo albums, then just planned to come the next day to pick up more,” Magga told the Mail.
“I feel ok, but get scared and jump at the slightest sound, and then we are homeless in one minute – I’ve got all kinds of emotions going on,” she said.
“We got to go inside the house on Monday. We had seven minutes to pick up what we wanted to save, but the emphasis was on personal things from my family – my mother, grandmother and grandfather – and clothes.”
Magga described her devastation at losing the house in a video.
Around 4,000 residents were evacuated from Grindavik hours after the country declared a state of emergency.
Experts said magma was accumulating three miles below ground and warned it has now risen much closer.
Drone footage as it flies over a volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes peninsula on Iceland— sonofabench (@therealmrbench) November 15, 2023
Could easily be from a Hollywood Movie #Iceland #volcano #Mexico #Popocatepetl #Mexico #icelandvolcano #IcelandNews #Grindavik #earthquakespic.twitter.com/cHoFb1gPFY
🚨 **BREAKING NEWS:** Volcano Eruption in Iceland, Government Plans Mass Transfers. The volcanic activity is escalating, and authorities are preparing for potential mass evacuations. #IcelandVolcano #BreakingNews 🌋🇮🇸 pic.twitter.com/j7MSfh7UwB— ChroniBuzz (@liv59224) November 15, 2023
“At this stage, it is not possible to determine exactly whether and where magma might reach the surface,” the Meteorological Office said.
The Icelandic Met Office informed police that their meters had detected increased levels of sulfur dioxide, which prompted evacuations.
Geophysicist at the Met Office, Benedikt Ófeigsson said while the amount of SO2 detected is not high, the increase points to magma being close to the surface.
“SO2 is not released from magma until very close to the surface. It just means the top kilometer,” he said.
The last measurements had measured magma at a depth of about 800 meters, but Ófeigsson now expects it to be even shallower.
“We are talking about maybe 500 metres. It’s unclear, it’s so high pressure, it’s pressure dependent when it comes up. So it’s not possible to tell the depth directly, but it [the magma] must be very shallow for us to see SO2 .”