“We feel this huge uncertainty right now. There will be an explosion and if it does, what kind of damage will it cause,” said Matthew James Roberts, director of research at the Icelandic Meteorological Service.
About 900 earthquakes were struck in southern Iceland today, authorities said, adding to the tens of thousands of earthquakes that have hit the region in recent weeks as the country prepares for the possibility of a powerful volcanic eruption.
Nearly 4,000 people were evacuated over the weekend as authorities fear magma could reach the surface and possibly hit a coastal town and a geothermal power station.
“We feel this enormous uncertainty now. Will there be an explosion and if it does, what kind of damage will it causesaid Matthew James Roberts, director of research at the Icelandic Meteorological Service.
Residents of the town of Grindavik described being evacuated from their homes early Saturday as the ground dried up, roads cracked and buildings damaged.
Hans Vera, a 56-year-old Belgian who has lived in Iceland since 1999, described how his house was constantly shaking.
“You couldn’t stand still for a moment, everything was shaking all the time so there was no way you could sleep” said Vera, who now lives at his sister-in-law’s house in a suburb of Reykjavík.
“It’s not just the citizens of Grindavik who are shocked by this situation, it’s all of Iceland“, he added.
Almost all of the town’s 3,800 residents have been accommodated in the homes of relatives or friends, and only 50-70 people are now staying in reception centers, according to an emergency services official.
Some of the locals were briefly allowed back into town yesterday to get items such as official documents, medicine or even their pets, but were not allowed back in their cars.
“You have to park your car five kilometers away and there are 20 cars, big rescue vehicles, 20 policemen… it’s unreal, it’s like a war zone or something, it’s really weird“, said Vera.
In Reykjavík, southwest of the capital Reykjavík, there are frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In March 2021 a lava fountain erupted spectacularly from a 500-750 meter long fissure in the area of the Fagrandalsfial volcanic system. Volcanic activity continued for six months that year and in August 2022 there was another eruption that lasted three weeks.
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