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Iceland volcano – latest: 180 earthquakes in 48 hours as Met Office warns ‘unrest not over’

Iceland has been rocked by 180 earthquakes in the last 48 hours in areas both near and far from the town of Grindavik, the Icelandic Met Office has reported.

The magnitude of the earthquakes ranged from 0.7 to 2.4, with the highest magnitude quake striking on Monday morning.

It comes as the country’s Met Office has said that while seismic activity is decreasing, the “unrest phase is not over”.

“The process which began on 25 October with a significant seismic swarm and peaked on 10 November with the formation of a 15 km long magmatic dike is not over.

“With certainty it can be stated that a phase has started where a similar sequence of events might repeat in time.”

A fortnight ago, Grindavik was evacuated after magma-induced seismic activity tore vast chasms through the streets.

A volcanic eruption in Indonesia has killed at least 11 hikers. The 2,891-metre-tall Marapi volcano in West Sumatra province erupted on Sunday, spewing ash as high as 3km into the sky that rained volcanic debris onto nearby villages.

Key Points

  • Iceland struck by 180 earthquakes in last 48 hours

  • Icelandic Met Office warns ‘unrest not over’

  • Ground near power plant swells as chamber beneath floods with magma

Companies allowed to operate in Grindavik as public access restricted into town split in two

09:34 , Barney Davis

The chief of police has extended the time that companies can stay open in Grindavík.

Companies can start operating at 7am and then work until 9pm.

As before, residents can enter the town 7am but must leave it at five in the afternoon.

Grindavík remains closed to public traffic, but it will be possible to enter the town via Suðurstrandarveg and Nesveg.

Cars will be counted in and out of the area, but people will not be followed Rescue teams will be on alert across the town.

200 Grindavik families still need housing

07:57 , Alexander Butler

About 200 families are still in need of housing, according to Karl Pétur Jónsson, the information representative of the Executive Office.

The agency advertised this weekend for available apartments and private houses for rent for at least three months for families and individuals from Grindvís.

Hulda Ragnheiður Árnadóttir, CEO of Iceland’s Natural Disaster Insurance, says that there is a definite hole in the system, as there is only a fund intended for the purchase of properties that are in flood risk areas.

“We have not previously been in the position of having to release people from living in properties in dangerous areas that are not flood risk areas,” says Hulda.

Basketball court in Grindavik escapes damage

06:17 , Barney Davis

The brand new sports centre in Grindavík has escaped “remarkably” well from the earthquakes in the town, the mayor said.

The giant crack goes underneath the new court and gymnasium holding the Grindavik Basketball team.

Fannar Jónasson, the mayor of Grindavík, said the sports hall remains undamaged on visual inspection.

“The crack goes under one corner of the new gymnasium. It’s design meant that it has not suffered any visible damage. The same is true for other sports facilities in the town.

“The design assumed that the house would tolerate some movement, some sliding, and nothing else can be seen but that it has worked,” says Fannar.

Professor doubts huge earthquakes of November 10 will repeat themselves

03:17 , Barney Davis

Þorvaldur Þórðarson, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, says if the land mass on the Reykjanes Peninsula continues at the same rate as now an eruption could happen.

“It could then lead to an eruption or magma intrusion at an even lower depth, and there would be some earthquakes with that, but I think it’s unlikely that it will be directly under Grindavík,” says Þorvaldur.

But he added he doubts that the sequence of events on the eve of November 10 will repeat itself.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Cracks being measured by scientists after Grindavik earthquakes

Monday 4 December 2023 23:17 , Barney Davis

More pictures of the cracks in the earth around Grindavik have been taken by researchers.

Grindavík remains closed to public traffic.

What to do with Grindavík: Has Iceland’s #1 selfie spot just emerged out of the ground?

Monday 4 December 2023 17:39 , Barney Davis

From the spectacular Northern Lights to the stunning waters of Blue Lagoon, Iceland is certainly not short of tourist attractions.

But the country may have found another spot for tourists to take selfies in front of, after the small harbour town of Grindavík was hit by thousands of earthquakes.

As fears of an imminent volcanic eruption subside, the town is looking at how best to recover after streets were torn up and residents fled for safety.

The crater left behind in the wake of the chaos spreads from a Lutheran church and nursery all the way through a children’s playground and underneath the fabled Grindavík basketball team’s plush new stadium with the season about to start.

Iceland’s new #1 selfie spot may have emerged out of ground despite volcano threat

Biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 10 years as Iceland town faces devastation

Monday 4 December 2023 15:47 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

As Iceland waits in trepidation for the looming volcanic eruption, we take a look at some of the biggest volcanic eruptions in the last decade:

Biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 10 years as Iceland town faces devastation

Monday 4 December 2023 14:44 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Indonesia’s Mount Marapi spouts thick ash plumes after eruption kills 11 hikers

Volcano eruption in Indoesia spewed ash 3km into sky

Monday 4 December 2023 13:28 , Alexander Butler

The 2,891 metre high volcano that erupted in Indonesia spewed ash as high as 3km into the sky on Sunday.

Marapi is one of the most active volcanoes on Sumatra island and its most deadly eruption was in April 1979, when 60 people were killed. This year, it erupted between January and February and was spewing ash around 75 metres-1,000 metres from the peak.

Authorities raised the alert to the second-highest level and prohibited residents from going within 3 km of the crater.

Video footage showed a huge cloud of volcanic ash spread widely across the sky, and cars and roads covered with ash.

A small eruption on Monday morning prompted the search to be temporarily suspended for a few hours. The eruption spewed volcanic ash around 800 metres high.

The Marapi Volcano in West Sumatra, Indonesia (Data Wrapper/ The Independent)
The Marapi Volcano in West Sumatra, Indonesia (Data Wrapper/ The Independent)

Eleven climbers found dead in Indonesia after volcano erupts

Monday 4 December 2023 12:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Eleven climbers were found dead in Indonesia on Monday and 12 were missing after the Marapi volcano erupted in West Sumatra, a rescue official said, as search operations - which were halted temporarily over safety concerns - resumed.

Three survivors were found on Monday along with the bodies of the 11 climbers, out of 75 who were in the area at the time of Sunday’s eruption, said Jodi Haryawan, spokesperson for the search and rescue team, adding they were all local climbers.

“We have continued to search for the 12 missing climbers until this evening. We have not decided when we are going to stop the operation,” Jodi said in a phone call, adding they would continue evacuating the three survivors and bodies of climbers.

There were 49 climbers evacuated from the area earlier on Monday and many were being treated for burns, Jodi said.

It took around four to six hours to evacuate one dead body from the volcano, Jodi said, adding: “It’s very difficult.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Volcano expert less convinced an eruption could occur

Monday 4 December 2023 11:07 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Þorvaldur Þórðarson, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, said he believes it is less likely that a volcanic eruption could occur based on the seismic activity on the Reykjanes peninsula.

“I’m becoming more and more inclined to believe that this will not end in an eruption,” he told The Iceland Monitor.

“The land rise is decreasing. It was rising quite fast about a week ago, but in some places the land rise has stopped. The land rise at Svartsengi has slowed down, and so one hopes that it will stop for now.”

Icelandic Met Office warns ‘unrest not over’

Monday 4 December 2023 10:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Icelandic Met Office has said that while seismic activity is decreasing, the “unrest phase is not over”.

“The process which began on 25 October with a significant seismic swarm and peaked on 10 November with the formation of a 15 km long magmatic dike is not over.

“With certainty it can be stated that a phase has started where a similar sequence of events might repeat in time.”

 (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)
(REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

Iceland struck by 180 earthquakes in last 48 hours

Monday 4 December 2023 09:03 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Iceland has been rocked by 180 earthquakes in the last 48 hours in areas both near and far from the town of Grindavik, the Icelandic Met Office has reported.

The magnitude of the earthquakes ranged from 0.7 to 2.4, with the highest magnitude quake striking on Monday morning.

 (Icelandic Met Office)
(Icelandic Met Office)

At least 11 hikers killed and a dozen missing after Indonesia volcano eruption

Monday 4 December 2023 07:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

At least 11 hikers were found dead on Monday following a huge eruption at the Marapi volcano in Indonesia, as efforts continue to find another dozen climbers who have been reported missing.

Three survivors were found near the volcano’s crater, described as being in a weak condition and having suffered burns.

The 2,891-metre-tall Marapi volcano in West Sumatra province erupted on Sunday, spewing ash as high as 3km into the sky that rained volcanic debris onto nearby villages.

At least 11 hikers killed and dozen missing after Indonesia volcano eruption

Met says inflammation in Svartsengi continues 'at a fairly stable rate'

Monday 4 December 2023 06:00 , Shweta Sharma

The Icelandic Met Office has said the “seismicity on the peninsula continues to decrease” but signs of magma movement and inflation persist.

“For the past few days, the automatic earthquake location system has been detecting relatively few earthquakes, mostly micro-earthquakes below magnitude one. The most recent seismicity is concentrated in the area between Sýlingarfell and Hagafell, where most likely the dike is fed by magma accumulating beneath Svartsengi,” it said in the latest update.

It added that although the seismic activity in the region around the dike is currently at a low level, the inflation process, likely associated with the movement of magma beneath the surface, continues steadily.

“Even though the activity along the dike and its vicinity is now occurring at very low intensity, the inflation which started in Svartsengi few days after the dike formed, continues at a fairly stable rate,” it said.

“Some cGPS stations around Svartsengi and Mt Þorbjörn show a slow declining trend, but other stations still show a constant trend suggesting that the inflow rate of magma at depth has not reduced significantly.”

Danger posed to workers as new hole opens up close to Grindavik

Monday 4 December 2023 03:00 , Alexander Butler

A new hole opened up underneath an excavator working around the great chasm that appeared in Grindavík.

“I’m working on a crawler around the big crack and fixing pipes. I was going over it and then it sank under me,” Henry Ásgeirsson, a digger for Jóni and Margeiri told MBL.

He says the area is all cracked and really dangerous.

A colleague Jón Berg Reynisson, took photographs of the opening.

“We never know what lies ahead of us in these jobs, but there the hole was not bigger. The earth can sink down and we don’t know how deep and wide it is,” he says.

“We try to be careful, but anything can happen in this area.”

Mayor praying Grindavik can reopen soon with restoration efforts underway

Monday 4 December 2023 01:00 , Alexander Butler

Fannar Jónasson, the town’s mayor, expressed optimism in a recent interview with Vísir.

“We’re seeing a variety of businesses expressing interest in reopening. With available housing and machinery for production and services, people are returning and taking advantage of these opportunities to keep their businesses afloat,” he stated.

Fannar emphasised the growing sense of community and mutual support in Grindavík.

“It’s great to see how supportive everyone is. Those working need access to food and services. There are also machine shops and wood workshops , among other businesses, which are reopening. So it is all interconnected, and life here is in its infancy, once again, ushering in what we hope marks the start of a positive era.”

Has Iceland’s #1 selfie spot just emerged out of the ground?

Sunday 3 December 2023 22:00 , Alexander Butler

From the spectacular Northern Lights to the stunning waters of Blue Lagoon, Iceland is certainly not short of tourist attractions.

But the country may have found another spot for tourists to take selfies in front of, after the small harbour town of Grindavík was hit by thousands of earthquakes.

As fears of an imminent volcanic eruption subside, the town is looking at how best to recover after streets were torn up and residents fled for safety.

Read the full story from our reporter Barney Davis here

Iceland’s new #1 selfie spot may have emerged out of ground despite volcano threat

Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano

Sunday 3 December 2023 19:00 , Alexander Butler

A sense of trepidation builds on the coach as we are waved through the roadblock that has held back people from returning to the Icelandic town of Grindavik amid an “imminent” volcanic eruption warning.

But the volunteer rescue forces posted on guard duty in battering 32mph winds have to follow the strict instructions of Iceland’s tourist minister. There is a lot of high-speed arguing in Icelandic, and eventually we pass through.

Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano

Is it safe to travel to Iceland?

Sunday 3 December 2023 16:00 , Alexander Butler

Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano

Every resident of an Icelandic town was evacuated due to a volcano. Daring rescuers went back to save the pets

Sunday 3 December 2023 15:00 , Alexander Butler

Hundreds of pets have been rescued from Iceland’s town of Grindavik, after they were separated from their owners over threats of an imminent volcanic eruption.

Charities have taken part in a number of rescue efforts in a bid to save animals in the town with rescuers returning to look for animals.

Cats, dogs, hamsters and even hens were at the centre of rescue efforts after many were left behind following evacuation orders which gave residents minutes to leave. Over 4,000 people were evacuated.

Charities and other organisations stepped in to save the day as many happy reunions took place amid the bittersweet circumstances.

Rescue effort to save pets left behind in Iceland town evacuated by volcano threat

Mount Etna spits lava and billows smoke into night sky

Sunday 3 December 2023 13:00 , Alexander Butler

Moving a bit further south from Iceland stunning footage of Italy’s Mount Etna spitting lava and billowing smoke into the night sky emerged on the morning of 1 December.

Whilst it’s a relatively timid explosion, Mount Etna erupts frequently and creates plumes of ashes that threaten to disrupt Catania’s nearby airport.

The Sicilian volcano is currently in a period of blast activity that began in the middle of November 2023.

Mount Etna is believed to have the longest documented history of eruptions among all volcanoes, with records dating back to as early as 425 B.C.

Mount Etna spits lava and billows smoke into night sky

Key questions answered for residents in Grindavik

Sunday 3 December 2023 11:00 , Alexander Butler

Residents of Grindavik have now been away from their homes for more than two weeks. As uncertainty hangs over when they will be able to return, they were able to put questions to the country’s leaders at an event this week, report local outlet RUV.is.

Here’s a round-up of some of the questions they asked:

Should the town have been evacuated earlier?

Víðir Reynisson, from the Icelandic police force, said it was not necessary to evacuate the town earlier. The first data from 10 November showed that the magma corridor was so far from the town that it would take days or even weeks for lava to flow to Grindavík in the event of an eruption, he said.

When will pipelines be fixed?

Works are underway with the project expected to take place over the winter with completion in early spring.

How you get compensation for a house?

Compensation reflects the damage that has occurred to the property. People have a year to report the damage.

First Grindavik back in business

Sunday 3 December 2023 10:00 , Alexander Butler

A Grindavik restaurant has reopened for business, the first since the town was evacuated due to the looming threat of eruption.

However, for now at least, Varar’s Seaman’s Club is only open for a few hours a day initially.

Owner Vilhjálmur Jóhann Lárusson told mbl.is around 150 people came back through the door for its first lunch service back.

Mr Lárusson said people had tired of having nothing but sandwiches for three weeks.

Scenes from sub zero Iceland as winter approaches

Sunday 3 December 2023 09:10 , Alexander Butler

A reminder below of the conditions in Iceland at this time of year as winter approaches.

The Icelandic Cricket Association has this afternoon posted a clip from an unspecific part of the country. showing the landscape covered in ice and snow.

Temperatures have plunged even further than the UK this week, dipping to -7C in parts of the island nation.

Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Your rights if you have a holiday booked

Sunday 3 December 2023 07:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The earth is at its most restless in Iceland right now. The Reykjanes peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik, is seething with seismic activity sparking hundreds of small earthquakes.

The town of Grindavík, just 10 miles south of Keflavik International Airport, has been evacuated as a precaution.

Yet flights are continuing to arrive and depart as normal. These are the key questions and answers on consumer rights.

Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Your rights if you have a holiday booked

‘It’s like a dystopian movie’: Iceland residents describe ‘apocalyptic’ scenes as they flee volcano threat

Sunday 3 December 2023 05:00 , Joe Middleton

Residents from a small Icelandic town under threat from a volcanic eruption have described their ‘apocalyptic’ existence as they fear for their future.

Last Friday, thousands of Grindavik residents were ordered to leave as the town was rocked by hundreds of earthquakes. The small fishing town is 34 miles from Reykjavík and is home to the famous tourist attraction the Blue Lagoon.

Many have been unable to return to the ‘danger zone’ to collect their belongings, as earthquakes continue to strike the town.

Iceland residents describe ‘apocalyptic’ scenes as they flee volcano threat

ICYMI: Iceland volcano: Seismologist spots earthquake during equipment explanation

Sunday 3 December 2023 04:00 , Joe Middleton

Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano

Sunday 3 December 2023 03:00 , Joe Middleton

A sense of trepidation builds on the coach as we are waved through the roadblock that has held back people from returning to the Icelandic town of Grindavik amid an “imminent” volcanic eruption warning.

But the volunteer rescue forces posted on guard duty in battering 32mph winds have to follow the strict instructions of Iceland’s tourist minister. There is a lot of high-speed arguing in Icelandic, and eventually we pass through.

The coach is carrying the world’s media for the first time since the initial 5.2-magnitude earthquake gripped the globe’s attention. But after days of stalemate, fears of Iceland’s economy tanking, and rumours spreading of the entire country disappearing beneath the Atlantic, the government has reluctantly allowed the press to visit the site.

Barney Davis reports from Grindavik:

Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano

Every resident of an Icelandic town was evacuated due to a volcano. Daring rescuers went back to save the pets

Sunday 3 December 2023 02:00 , Joe Middleton

Cats, dogs, hamsters and even hens were at the centre of rescue efforts, reports Barney Davis from Iceland

Rescue effort to save pets left behind in Iceland town evacuated by volcano threat

‘It’s like a dystopian movie’: Iceland residents describe ‘apocalyptic’ scenes as they flee volcano threat

Sunday 3 December 2023 01:00 , Joe Middleton

Residents from a small Icelandic town under threat from a volcanic eruption have described their ‘apocalyptic’ existence as they fear for their future.

Last Friday, thousands of Grindavik residents were ordered to leave as the town was rocked by hundreds of earthquakes. The small fishing town is 34 miles from Reykjavík and is home to the famous tourist attraction the Blue Lagoon.

Many have been unable to return to the ‘danger zone’ to collect their belongings, as earthquakes continue to strike the town.

Iceland residents describe ‘apocalyptic’ scenes as they flee volcano threat

Biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 10 years as Iceland town faces devastation

Saturday 2 December 2023 23:00 , Joe Middleton

Iceland’s town of Grindavik faces a catastrophic countdown to a volcanic eruption that could see its destruction, experts have warned.

Almost 4,000 people were evacuated from Grindavik over the weekend as authorities feared that molten rock would rise to the surface of the earth and potentially hit the coastal town and a geothermal power station.

It comes as the country has been shaken by more than 880 small earthquakes, prompting fears that the tremors could disrupt the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest of the country.

Biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 10 years as Iceland town faces devastation

Mapped: Where in Iceland is the volcano?

Saturday 2 December 2023 21:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Iceland volcano could erupt like a ‘can of fizzy drink’

Saturday 2 December 2023 20:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A volcano close to erupting in Iceland could explode like a “can of fizzy drink,” an expert has said.

Iceland’s Met Office has said magmatic gas has been detected at a borehole in Svartsengi, signalling an imminent eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano over the coming days, with the town of Grindavik most at risk.

The small fishing town has already been evacuated following thousands of mini earthquakes across the Reykjanes peninsula, southwest Iceland, over the past week.

Iceland volcano could erupt like a ‘can of fizzy drink’

Biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 10 years as Iceland town faces devastation

Saturday 2 December 2023 19:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Iceland’s town of Grindavik faces a catastrophic countdown to a volcanic eruption that could see its destruction, experts have warned.

Almost 4,000 people were evacuated from Grindavik over the weekend as authorities feared that molten rock would rise to the surface of the earth and potentially hit the coastal town and a geothermal power station.

It comes as the country has been shaken by more than 880 small earthquakes, prompting fears that the tremors could disrupt the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest of the country.

Biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 10 years as Iceland town faces devastation

‘It’s like a dystopian movie’: Iceland residents describe ‘apocalyptic’ scenes as they flee volcano threat

Saturday 2 December 2023 18:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Residents from a small Icelandic town under threat from a volcanic eruption have described their ‘apocalyptic’ existence as they fear for their future.

Last Friday, thousands of Grindavik residents were ordered to leave as the town was rocked by hundreds of earthquakes. The small fishing town is 34 miles from Reykjavík and is home to the famous tourist attraction the Blue Lagoon.

Many have been unable to return to the ‘danger zone’ to collect their belongings, as earthquakes continue to strike the town.

Iceland residents describe ‘apocalyptic’ scenes as they flee volcano threat

Every resident of an Icelandic town was evacuated due to a volcano. Daring rescuers went back to save the pets

Saturday 2 December 2023 17:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Hundreds of pets have been rescued from Iceland’s town of Grindavik, after they were separated from their owners over threats of an imminent volcanic eruption.

Charities have taken part in a number of rescue efforts in a bid to save animals in the town with rescuers returning to look for animals.

Cats, dogs, hamsters and even hens were at the centre of rescue efforts after many were left behind following evacuation orders which gave residents minutes to leave. Over 4,000 people were evacuated.

Rescue effort to save pets left behind in Iceland town evacuated by volcano threat

Could an Icelandic volcano ground flights like in 2010?

Saturday 2 December 2023 16:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Simon Calder answers your questions on aviation, the land of ice and fire, and birthday in Albania

As I write, the Reykjanes peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik, is seething with seismic activity.

Iceland’s main international airport, Keflavik, is just 10 miles north of the town Grindavik. Yet flights are operating normally, which some may find surprising.

Could an Icelandic volcano ground flights like in 2010?

When will the Iceland volcano erupt and what happens when it does?

Saturday 2 December 2023 15:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

As an imminent eruption looms thousands of Iceland residents await their fate as their town could be wiped out within days.

Thousands of earthquakes rocked the southwestern peninsula of Reykjanes on Saturday 11 November leading semi-molten rock to ravage below the surface as the tremors caused a 15km long dyke to form, cracking the community in two as the ground was pushed upwards.

Some 3,400 residents from the town of Grindavik which lies on the path of the expected fissure vent eruption were forced to evacuate, they described the ‘apocalyptic’ scenes of their much-loved home town as they briefly returned to collect their belongings.

When will the Iceland volcano erupt and what happens when it does?

Iceland braces for ‘imminent’ volcanic eruption with just 30 minutes warning

Saturday 2 December 2023 14:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Evacuated residents are being allowed to return under supervision to collect personal items as the nation is glued to news channels, reports Barney Davis from Rejkavik:

Iceland watches on helplessly as rescue workers escorting locals back to the evacuated fishing town of Grindavik say it is “now a waiting game” before an eruption.

Gripped viewers are glued to main TV News channel RUV.is as it plays a live stream of the glowing crater with modern Icelandic electronic music underneath as the countdown continued on Tuesday.

It comes as 1,200 households scramble to grab as many “heartfelt” objects as they can under observation from rescue teams from the town above the volatile Reykjanes Peninsula.

Iceland glued to ‘imminent’ volcano eruption amid 30 minute warning