Iceland Faces Threat Of Massive Volcanic Eruption After Experiencing 30,000 Earthquakes

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Almost 4,000 people were evacuated as of Monday as Iceland prepares for what could become a serious volcanic eruption.

More than 30,000 earthquakes have rattled the island nation, with many lasting as long as five minutes. Such quakes are known to be precursors to significant volcanic activity, and sometimes develop into what’s called a “harmonic tremor” as the eruption begins.

Many of those evacuated lived in the town of Grindavik, as roadways began to crack and buildings suffered structural damage throughout Saturday, according to Reuters. The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) said “an eruption could be possible on a timescale of just a couple of days” as a 10-mile-long magma tunnel is forming beneath the town, LiveScience reported.

“You would never be steady, it was always shaking, so there was no way to get sleep,” one resident, Hans Vera, 56, said of his home over the last several days, Reuters noted. “It’s not only the people in Grindavik who are shocked about this situation it’s the whole of Iceland.” Vera described the scene as “like a war zone” with chaos ensuing from the sudden and unexpectedly large amount of seismic activity. (RELATED: ‘The Volcano’ Is A Harrowing Tale Of Our Planet’s Violence And Power)

The magma tunnel appears to head under Grindavik and into the ocean, so there’s no telling what this eruption could look like. And without any knowledge of how big or explosive this eruption could be, there’s no telling what impact it could have well outside of Iceland’s borders.