The Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland has been bracing for a volcanic eruption for days. Cracks appeared in the earth over the weekend, and steam is pouring out from deep below ground. The Icelandic Met Office warns of a “significant risk” of an eruption in the days ahead, and it pinpoints the town of Grindavik, which was entirely evacuated Friday, as the most probable location.
Grindavik, with a population of around 3,000, is about 26 miles southwest of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. Little has changed since early this week in the overall assessment of the burgeoning volcano, which could erupt on the “time scale of days” according to the Met Office.
Between 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time Thursday, around 1,200 earthquakes were recorded. Magma is still believed to be within about 2,500 feet of the surface, but an update from Met Office cautions that “the intrusion is propagating upward slowly.”
The land has sunk by up to 5 feet west of Grindavik and risen by up to 3 feet to the east. There are indications this impending eruption may feature “significantly” more magma than previous similar eruptions in the last two years. For now, officials continue to wait and watch anxiously.