2200 Earthquakes in 24 Hrs Compels Iceland to Declare Emergency

Iceland declared a state of emergency on Friday when a series of 2200 powerful earthquakes rocked the country’s southwestern Reykjanes peninsula. It is feared that these earthquakes may be hinting at a volcanic eruption in the region.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, around 1,400 earthquakes were measured in the day leading up to around midday on Thursday November 9, with another 800 in the first 14 hours of Friday.

The Blue Lagoon, a popular tourist destination located near Grindavik famed for its geothermal spas and luxury hotels, closed as a precaution following another earthquake swarm.

“Earthquakes can become larger than those that have occurred and this series of events could lead to an eruption,” the administration warned.

The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) said an eruption could take place “in several days”.

Some 24,000 tremors have been registered on the peninsula since late October.

The IMO noted an accumulation of magma underground at a depth of about five kilometres (3.1 miles). Should it start moving towards the surface it could lead to a volcanic eruption.

Also nearby is the Svartsengi geothermal plant, the main supplier of electricity and water to 30,000 residents on the Reykjanes peninsula.

Since 2021, three eruptions have taken place on the Reykjanes peninsula, in March 2021, August 2022 and July 2023. But all of them were far away from human habitats.

Iceland has 33 active volcanic systems, the highest number in Europe.

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