On Friday, a road running north-south to Grindavik was closed by the police due to damage caused by seismic activity. Iceland declared a state of emergency after a series of powerful earthquakes struck the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula, potentially signaling an impending volcanic eruption.

“The National police chief… declares a state of emergency for civil defence due to the intense earthquake (activity) at Sundhnjukagigar, north of Grindavik,” announced the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management.

The administration cautioned that earthquakes might escalate in magnitude, and the ongoing seismic events could lead to a volcanic eruption. The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) suggested that an eruption might occur “in several days.”

Grindavik, housing approximately 4,000 people, is situated about three kilometers southwest of the epicenter of the earthquake swarm. The village has evacuation plans in place in case of an eruption.

Around 1730 GMT on the same day, two strong earthquakes were felt as far as Reykjavik, the capital, and along much of the country’s southern coast. The largest tremor, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.2, occurred north of Grindavik.

Southwest Iceland is currently experiencing significant earthquake activity, raising concerns about potential volcanic eruptions. In the past hour alone, over 150 earthquakes were reported in the region, indicating an increased seismic threat. Authorities are closely monitoring the situation.

A road running north-south to Grindavik was closed due to damage caused by tremors. Since late October, around 24,000 tremors have been recorded on the peninsula, with almost 800 earthquakes registered in a dense swarm between midnight and 1400 GMT on Friday.

The IMO noted an accumulation of magma underground at a depth of about five kilometers. Should it move towards the surface, it could result in a volcanic eruption. The most likely scenario, according to the IMO, is that it will take several days for magma to reach the surface.

Emergency measures are being taken, with the patrol vessel Thor dispatched to Grindavik for security purposes. Emergency shelters and help centers are opening in Grindavik and three other locations in southern Iceland to provide information and assistance to those affected.

The Blue Lagoon, a popular tourist destination near Grindavik, closed as a precaution, and the Svartsengi geothermal plant, a key supplier of electricity and water to the Reykjanes peninsula, has contingency plans in place for worker and facility protection in the event of an eruption.

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