Residents of Grindavik in Iceland evacuated as volcanic activity forms fissure through town centre

Image of Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano in 2021.

Image of Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano in 2021. Credit: Mokslo Sriuba/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

THE Fagradalsfjall volcano continues to worry Iceland’s authorities with the state of alarm remaining firmly in place.

An aerial video published on social media this Monday, November 13, claimed to show a fissure had formed through the centre of the fishing town of Grindavik, just 50 km southwest of the capital city Reykjavík.

Fagradalsfjall previously erupted in 2021 but experts are reported to be fearing what could be one of the most destructive eruptions in half a century.

As a result, the town’s population of approximately 4,000 residents have been evacuated as a precaution. At least 20,000 seismic tremors have been recorded in recent weeks, with 1,485 in the last 48 hours, as reported by

Several temporary shelters have been set up by Icelandic police for the evacuated townsfolk. However, according to today’s reports, there were only a few dozen people using them as the rest had chosen to stay with family or friends.

The famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pool was closed last Thursday 9, due to the risk posed to visitors by the recent tremors, along with the stress caused to members of staff.

What are the geologists saying?

Geologists have reported that a 2,000-year-old network of craters runs under Grindavik, containing tunnels filled with magma that exceed 10 km in length.

Volcanologists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) have warned of the presence of signs very similar to those recorded hours before the eruption in 2021, at which point it had been dormant for almost 800 years.

According to the IMO website today, Monday, November 13, seismic activity continues along the magma intrusion, although the size and intensity of the activity is decreasing.

Since midnight, around 900 earthquakes have been detected it said, with the seismic activity concentrated in the region of the intrusion, between Sundhnúkur and Grindavík at a depth of about 2–5 km.

It explained that decreasing rates of ground deformation were seen in GPS data from Grindavík. Satellite radar results showed a graben-like formation cutting through parts of the town. This feature was first identified by IMO in satellite radar imagery early on November they confirmed.

What do the volcanologists say?

Speaking with the BBC about a reported a 15km-long (nine mile) river of magma that is running under the area, Thor Thordason, a professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, said: ‘That’s why we’re talking about an imminent eruption unfortunately. The most likely eruption side appears to be within the boundary of the town of Grindavík’.

Although there are around 130 volcanoes in Iceland, only about 30 are currently active. Magma has already risen to the surface in this area on several occasions in the last two years, but basically through small fissures that did not pose any threat.

The last time a major eruption threatened an inhabited area of Iceland was in 1973. At that time, lava buried part of a village in Vestmannaeyjar – known in English as the Westman Islands – a municipality and archipelago located off the south coast of the country.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at