Iceland declares state of emergency with volcanic eruption ‘likely’

Iceland has declared a state of emergency after disclosing that a series of earthquakes are likely to trigger a volcanic eruption within days.

Authorities have ordered around 3,000 people living in the southwestern town of Grindavík, ten miles south of Keflavik International airport, to leave as a precaution.

The town is near the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa resort which closed temporarily for a week last Thursday as a precaution.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said there was a “significant likelihood” of a volcanic eruption in the coming days.

Around 1,000 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight on Sunday, according to the IMO. 

The probability of an eruption on or just off the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland has increased as a result.

The IMO added that the likelihood of a volcanic eruption was high, and it could be possible on a timescale of just days.

Thousands of tremors have been recorded around the nearby Fagradalsfjall volcano in recent weeks.

The Foreign Office updated its travel advice to Iceland on Saturday to warn that it had become “ increasingly possible” that an earthquake could occur.

The alert said: “Earthquakes and indications of volcanic activity have increased above normal levels on the Reykjanes peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik. 

“The Icelandic authorities continue to monitor the area closely, particularly the area northwest of Mt Thorbjörn near the Svartsengi power plant and the Blue Lagoon. 

“On 10 November, a Civil Protection Alert was declared after an intense swarm of earthquakes. 

“The town of Grindavík was evacuated as a precaution. Some roads have been closed and visitors are advised to stay away from the area. 

“Keflavik International airport is operating as normal. 

“While there  is no current eruption, it is increasingly possible that one could occur. You should monitor local media for updates and follow the authorities advice on travel to the area.”

MoreIceland: Luxury wellness at the Blue Lagoon

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.