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Iceland Volcano Resumes Eruption, Puts Grindavík in Peril as Lava Creeps Closer

Iceland Volcano Resumes Eruption, Puts Grindavík in Peril as Lava Creeps Closer
Iceland Volcano Resumes Eruption, Puts Grindavík in Peril as Lava Creeps Closer

In a dramatic turn of events, a volcano on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula has roared back to life, resuming its eruption after a four-week hiatus. The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) announced on Sunday, January 14, that new fissures have cracked open near the town of Grindavík, posing a significant threat to the community as lava flows move menacingly toward the town.

Iceland Volcano Resumes Eruption, Puts Grindavík in Peril as Lava Creeps Closer

Iceland Volcano Resumes Eruption, Puts Grindavík in Peril as Lava Creeps Closer

The eruption was triggered by an intense series of earthquakes that commenced around 3:00 a.m. local time in the Sundhnúksgígar area, gradually migrating southwest toward Grindavík. A lava-spewing fissure opened around 8 a.m. to the southeast of the Hagafell mountain, coming dangerously close to the town, just 3,000 feet (900 meters) away.

As the day progressed, a fresh eruptive fissure emerged just north of Grindavík, leading to lava flows entering the town, according to a statement by the IMO. Seismicity and ground deformation data indicate that a magma dike running down the Reykjanes Peninsula has reached beneath Grindavík. This intrusion of magma may have “reactivated” existing faults and fractures in the Earth’s crust, causing the emergence of new fissures.

Experts suggest that more fissures could open in the coming days as magma continues to feed the dike, posing an escalating threat to Grindavík. Þorvaldur Þórðarson, a professor of volcanology and petrology at the Icelandic University, highlighted two possible scenarios. One scenario involves the eruption shifting to the lower fissure, leading to continued lava flow towards the town. The other, more alarming scenario, is an additional eruption alongside the upper fissure, intensifying the overall eruption.

Þórðarson expressed concern that magma could extend further down the peninsula, continually lengthening the fissure. “The situation has unfortunately become very bleak for Grindavík,” he remarked.

Images of the eruption depict lava flows inching perilously close to evacuated houses in Grindavík, portraying the gravity of the situation faced by the town’s residents.

As the events unfold, it remains imperative for local authorities to monitor the situation closely and for residents to stay informed and follow safety protocols. The future trajectory of the eruption, as well as potential developments, will continue to be closely observed by experts and residents alike.

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