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Hagafell will be site of impending volcanic eruption, Icelandic scientists predict

Experts at the Icelandic Meteorological Office installed DOAS measuring devices on Húsafell that measure sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. Photo courtesy of Icelandic Meteorological Office
Experts at the Icelandic Meteorological Office installed DOAS measuring devices on Húsafell that measure sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. Photo courtesy of Icelandic Meteorological Office

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- A "high likelihood of volcanic eruption continues" in Iceland, as major seismic activity continues to affect the small Nordic island nation.

"Seismicity related to the magma intrusion that formed suddenly a week ago remains high and constant," the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a statement Saturday.

People living around Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano remain on high alert.

A volcano near Iceland's capital of Reykjavik erupted in 2022. File Photo courtesy of Icelandic Meteorological Office
A volcano near Iceland's capital of Reykjavik erupted in 2022. File Photo courtesy of Icelandic Meteorological Office

The island of 372,000 people has seen approximately 1,700 earthquakes over the previous 24 hours, with 1,000 of those recorded during the first 12 hours of that period.

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The largest quake registered a magnitude of 3.0 near the mountain of Hagafell. The mountain is near the small town of Grindavik on Iceland's Southern Peninsula and approximately 35 miles southwest of the capital Reykjavik.

Iceland's civil defense officials last Saturday ordered the town's population to leave as a precaution.

Seismic activity and the ensuing magma intrusion were first discovered a week ago.

The largest movements in the magma intrusion are occurring north of Grindavík, near Hagafell, according to GPS data. Officials believe Hagafell is the "prime location" for a volcanic eruption should one occur.

"Subsidence over the magma intrusion remains active, although measurements show a slight slowdown from day to day," the meteorological office said in its statement

"Based on the interpretation of the latest data and model results, a volcanic eruption remains likely, with the highest likelihood of it starting north of Grindavík near Hagafell."

The country's public broadcaster has set up two live streams to watch the impending eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano.