(MENAFN) Iceland is on high alert as authorities issue warnings of a looming volcanic eruption, with fears escalating due to ongoing seismic activity in an area near the coastal town of Grindavik. The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) has raised concerns, indicating that a major eruption could happen with as little as 30 minutes' notice. The situation has prompted evacuations, with approximately 4,000 residents forced to leave Grindavik earlier this month.
Recent seismic data has led scientists to believe that the eruption is imminent, but there is a shift in the anticipated location. While initial concerns centered around the possibility of molten lava bursting directly from a magma tunnel under Grindavik, the IMO now suggests that the eruption is more likely to occur between Sylingarfell, situated a few miles north of Grindavik, and Hagafell, further to the northeast.
The IMO's latest assessment, released on Wednesday, indicates that the probability of a sudden eruption within the town limits of Grindavik has been decreasing. They speculate that the magma in the tunnel beneath Grindavik may be partially solidified, reducing the likelihood of an abrupt breakthrough to the surface within the town limits.
However, scientists caution that the diminishing frequency of earthquakes in the area might indicate that magma is nearing the Earth's surface, heightening the potential for an eruption. Despite the challenges posed by stormy weather and strong waves, which have hindered efforts to closely monitor seismic activity, the IMO reported about 100 earthquakes between midnight and 6 p.m. on Wednesday. This represents a notable decrease from the thousands of daily tremors recorded earlier this month.
As Iceland remains on edge, the evolving situation raises questions about the accuracy of eruption predictions, the effectiveness of evacuation measures, and the broader implications for the safety and preparedness of communities in volcanic-prone regions. Authorities are closely monitoring developments and preparing for any scenario as the nation faces the looming threat of a volcanic eruption.
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