ANI Photo | Iceland evacuates people amid volcanic threat, declares state of emergency

Iceland has declared a state of emergency, compelling authorities to urge residents to evacuate the coastal town of Grindavik due to an increased risk of a volcanic eruption triggered by a series of intense earthquakes in the southwest of the country, CNN reported.
Nearly 800 quakes were recorded between midnight and 2 pm (local time) on Friday, with the shallowest at a depth of 3-3.5 kilometres (1.86-2.18 miles), according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency issued a statement expressing concerns about a magma tunnel forming that could potentially reach Grindavik. However, as of Friday evening, they stated the impossibility of determining if and where the magma might breach the surface.
“Earthquakes may become bigger than those that have already occurred, and this sequence of events could lead to an eruption. However, there are still no signs that the magma is nearing the surface. Its progress is being closely monitored,” CNN reported the Civil Protection Agency as saying.
Authorities are advising residents to evacuate calmly, reassuring them that there is no imminent danger. The agency stated, “Residents must evacuate their homes and leave the town. But we also want to reiterate that this is not an emergency evacuation; there is plenty of time to prepare, secure things and drive out of town calmly.”
“We want to reiterate that residents must evacuate their homes and leave the town. But we also want to reiterate that this is not an emergency evacuation; there is plenty of time to prepare, secure things and drive out of town calmly,” the Civil Protection Agency also said.
“It is clear that we are dealing with events that we Icelanders have not experienced before, at least not since the eruption in Vestmannaeyjar. We faced that together; we will face this together and we will not lose heart,” it added.
The US Embassy in Iceland issued a volcano alert, cautioning about the heightened signs of volcanic activity. It stated, “If an eruption occurs, follow the instructions of Icelandic authorities. Volcanic hazards may include lava, toxic gases, and heavy smoke from fires ignited by lava.”
The world-renowned Blue Lagoon thermal pool in the affected area has already closed due to the ongoing seismic activity.
Since 2021, Iceland has witnessed an eruption almost every 12 months, with the latest occurring in July south of Reykjavik, the capital.
Iceland, situated on a tectonic plate boundary, continuously undergoes splitting, pushing North America and Eurasia away from each other along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The country is home to 32 active volcanoes, CNN reported.

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