Icelandic authorities declared a state of emergency as an intense wave of hundreds of earthquakes continued in Iceland into the weekend. Police officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents of the coastal town of Grindavík.
On Thursday, the island nation’s famed Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, located in a lava field near Grindavík and in front of Mount Þorbjörn, experienced 1,400 earthquakes in 24 hours, causing the lagoon to close while rattling the nerves of resort guests.
In statements Friday, The country‘s Civil Protection Agency said that a magma tunnel that is forming could reach Grindavík. As of Friday evening, however, officials said it has been impossible to tell if and where the magma might break through to the surface.
“Earthquakes may become bigger than those that have already occurred, and this sequence of events could lead to an eruption,” the agency said in a statement. “However, there are still no signs that the magma is nearing the surface. Its progress is being closely monitored.”
As a result of the eruptions, the U.S. government issued a Volcano Alert in which it warned of the increased signs of volcanic activity.
“If an eruption occurs, follow the instructions of Icelandic authorities,” the alert read. “Volcanic hazards may include lava, toxic gases, and heavy smoke from fires ignited by lava.”
(Photo: Accura Media Group)