Huge cracks appear on roads in Icelandic town at risk of volcanic eruption
Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s top tourist spots, extended its closure till 9 December amid safety concerns over fears of a volcano eruption.
It comes as the country’s Met Office has said that while seismic activity is decreasing, the “unrest phase is not over”.
“The process which began on 25 October with a significant seismic swarm and peaked on 10 November with the formation of a 15 km long magmatic dike is not over.
“With certainty it can be stated that a phase has started where a similar sequence of events might repeat in time.”
Authorities earlier warned that the “most likely” place for an eruption is east of Sýlingarfell, next to the famous tourist attraction.
A fortnight ago, the fishing town of Grindavik was evacuated after magma-induced seismic activity tore vast chasms through the streets.
Meanwhile, a volcanic eruption in Indonesia has killed at least 11 hikers. The 2,891-metre-tall Marapi volcano in West Sumatra province erupted on Sunday, spewing ash as high as 3km into the sky that rained volcanic debris onto nearby villages.
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Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano
But the volunteer rescue forces posted on guard duty in battering 32mph winds have to follow the strict instructions of Iceland’s tourist minister. There is a lot of high-speed arguing in Icelandic, and eventually we pass through.
The coach is carrying the world’s media for the first time since the initial 5.2-magnitude earthquake gripped the globe’s attention. But after days of stalemate, fears of Iceland’s economy tanking, and rumours spreading of the entire country disappearing beneath the Atlantic, the government has reluctantly allowed the press to visit the site.
Read my colleague Barney Davis’s report from Grindavik:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2023 09:14
50 earthquakes detected since midnight
A volcano specialist for the Icelandic Met Office said the “seismic activity has been rather similar” in recent days.
They said on 6 December: “Since midnight today about 50 earthquakes have been detected, most of them located near the central part of the dike intrusion. Yesterday approx. 220 earthquakes were detected near the dike intrusion.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2023 08:12
Iceland Met Office: ‘Unrest phase is not over’
It went on to add that while seismic activity was decreasing, “the unrest phase is not over, difficult to say when and where the next dike will propagate”.
Maira Butt6 December 2023 07:02
Grindavik residents demand pension funds lower interest rates
Residents of Grindavik, the town at the epicentre of a possible volcano eruption, have urged pension funds to lower their interest rates and repayments on housing loans.
The entire town of nearly 4,000 people was evacuated last month amid fears of a volcanic eruption following a swarm of earthquakes.
Earlier commercial banks agreed to lower interest rates and repayments on housing loans for three months and residents are demanding pension funds follow suit.
Árni Guðmundsson, the director of Gildi pension fund, told locals: “Different rules and laws apply to us compared to the banks. Entirely different regulations and laws apply to us, and we just need our time to ensure that this is legally permissible for us.”
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 December 2023 06:30
Iceland government warns it could be months before Grindavik residents can return home
Thousands of evacuated residents could find themselves displaced for months according to a press conference held by the Icelandic government last week.
The town which remains under an evacuation order could be empty for months according to the Iceland Review.
It suggested that a return home would depend on the state of the town’s utilities infrastructure, some of which has been damaged by powerful earthquakes since the threat of volcanic eruption emerged.
Municipal authorities are to assess the infrastructure with officials suggesting that residents could be permitted to move back into the town in stages.
Maira Butt6 December 2023 05:57
Defensive wall construction around power plant ‘going very well’
The construction of a defensive wall around the Svartsengi power plant to protect it from a volcanic eruption was “going very well”, said one of the engineers.
“We are starting to move closer to the Blue Lagoon, but that’s the only place that’s still left to do. On the Sundhnúkar crater row up on the hill, for example, the defence wall is almost done,” Ari Guðmundsson told the Iceland Monitor.
Between 60 and 70 construction workers have been engaging with the project round the clock, he said, although there was still no definitive date for wall’s completion.
“By mid-month, we should have a good picture, but we’ve already got more than half of all the material into the walls,” Mr Guðmundsson added.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 December 2023 05:30
In pictures: Grindavik’s residents remain displaced
Maira Butt6 December 2023 05:01
Working hours extended for companies in Grindavik
Authorities in the southern peninsula region have extended the daily window when commercial activities can be carried out in Grindavik, the town at the epicentre of the eruption warning that was initially completely evacuated.
Companies have been allowed to begin operations at 7am and continue until 9pm, according to state broadcaster RUV.
Businesses were asked to make sure their plumbing systems were in order along with an emergency evacuation plan for workers.
Grindavik residents are allowed to enter the town at 7am but asked to leave by 5pm.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 December 2023 04:30
TikToker and Lava Show co-founder create fundraiser for Grindavik residents as Christmas looms
Iceland’s Lava Show co-founder and TikToker LadyLava have joined forces to raise awareness of the situation in Grindavik by creating a fundraiser for those who have been affected by the threat of volcanic eruption in the town.
“It’s exactly three weeks since every single person had to evacuate Grindavik because a magma intrusion formed below the town. Its been three weeks and there’s still been complete uncertainty about whether or not it’s going to erupt, whether the people of Grindavik will be able to return home.
“They are still not at home and Christmas is coming and this must be incredibly difficult.”
Maira Butt6 December 2023 03:51
Has Iceland’s #1 selfie spot just emerged out of the ground?
From the spectacular Northern Lights to the stunning waters of Blue Lagoon, Iceland is certainly not short of tourist attractions.
But the country may have found another spot for tourists to take selfies in front of, after the small harbour town of Grindavík was hit by thousands of earthquakes.
As fears of an imminent volcanic eruption subside, the town is looking at how best to recover after streets were torn up and residents fled for safety.
The crater left behind in the wake of the chaos spreads from a Lutheran church and nursery all the way through a children’s playground and underneath the fabled Grindavík basketball team’s plush new stadium with the season about to start.
Barney Davis reports from Grindavik.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 December 2023 03:30