Iceland's Reykjanes volcanic activity rises, threatens catastrophe

Iceland's Reykjanes volcanic activity rises, threatens catastrophe
  • Clock-gray 08:05
  • calendar-gray 11 April 2020

Rising volcanic activity on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland could potentially result in causing disruptions for over 300 years, scientists have warned, according to the Guardian. Not having erupted in 800 years, the region is reportedly becoming active again as land uplifts of 10cm are occuring due to underground magma intrusions, according to Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO).

Sigríður Magnea Óskarsdóttir, a specialist in natural hazards at the IMO, said to inews that currently, the volcanic activity is "unusual".

"There were eruptions in the Reykjanes peninsula 800 years ago, but in our lifetime, what we are experiencing is very unusual", he said.

If the peninsula sees volcanic activity, eruptive episodes locally known as "fires" can occur, creating fissures of up to 8km in length in the earth that spew lava. These "fires" could possibly cover large areas of land in lava, as it happened between 1210 and 1240 when an area of around 50 square kilometres was affected. 

The possibility of new eruptions reportedly puts the nearby town of Grindavik in the most serious danger, as there is a geothermal power plant located in the area, and lava covering this region could be a "worst-case scenario", Kristín Jónsdóttir of the IMO warned.

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