Will the small Icelandic town of Grindavik soon be buried? An impressive fissure runs across the city

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, magma is approaching the Earth’s surface. The molten rock is now about 500 meters deep, down from 800 meters last Tuesday. Never seen before in Iceland! About 130 volcanoes in the country are still active and sit directly on the so-called Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a rift in the ocean floor that separates two tectonic plates (North American and Eurasian). Each of these is about 2 cm per year.

Although it is not easy to predict the main moment of the eruption, for volcanologist and professor of ULB Corentin Caudron, it will happen in the coming weeks or days. Although we know how deep the magma is, we don’t know what the volcano is doing. It cools, in part, at the ends, but receives volumes from the depths. So it continues to swell. “This is why, in the long run, I think we’ll be headed for another breakout. We need more measurements and more models to improve our knowledgeCorentin Caudron says. At this time, two ULB researchers at the site are collecting and transmitting information.

The risk of an evacuated city being completely buried and disappearing is real. Approximately once every 800 years, the Reykjanes peninsula will experience such an event for several decades. The previous 3 eruptions were “well located” and did not affect people. This is the first time Iceland has completely evacuated a small town of about 4,000 people.

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