Emergency has been declared due to concerns about the eruption of the volcano Fagradalsfjall in Iceland

Iceland has declared a state of emergency after a series of earthquakes, ordering thousands of people living in the southwestern town of Grindavík to leave as a precaution. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said there was a considerable risk of an eruption, with the probability of an eruption on or just off the Reykjanes peninsula increasing since the morning. An eruption could start at any time in the next few days. A 15km-long river of magma running under the peninsula is still active, and the most likely eruption side appears to be within the boundary of the town of Grinadvik.

Thousands of tremors have been recorded around the nearby Fagradalsfjall volcano in recent weeks, concentrated in Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula, which had remained dormant to volcanic activity for 800 years before a 2021 eruption. The agency stated that a tunnel of magma, or molten rock, that extends northeast across Grindavik and some 10km further inland, was estimated at a depth of less than 800 meters. More than 20,000 tremors have been recorded in southwest Iceland since late October.

Iceland's Civil Protection Agency said the decision to evacuate came after the IMO could not rule out a "magma tunnel that is currently forming could reach Grindavík". All roads into the town of around 4,000 people are closed other than for emergencies to ensure traffic can get in and out.


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