Iceland has been cast by the warmth of the Earth’s core.
The molten rock that now sits 800 metres beneath the fishing village of Grindavik is expected to reach the surface within days, the newest in an extended historical past of eruptions.
Round 4,000 inhabitants had been evacuated within the early hours of Saturday after a swarm of earthquakes clustered in a small space. There had been greater than 1,000 tremors in only a few hours, brought on by the magma forcing its method upwards.
Scientists imagine it has now pooled in a 10-mile tunnel within the rock, stretching from the island inside out to sea.
The Reykjanes volcanic system is barely 35 miles from the capital, Reykjavik. It had been dormant for 800 years till it erupted from a fissure in March 2021. The lava fountain turned a vacationer attraction over a six-month interval.
There have been two extra eruptions in the identical space since then.
However the quantity of molten rock just under the floor this time is regarded as far better.
It is doable the eruption will likely be simply offshore, during which case the contact between super-heated rock and water can be explosive – with an ash cloud doubtlessly being thrown a number of miles excessive.
That may be an echo of the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010, which induced widespread disruption. Round 100,000 flights had been grounded over a number of days due to fears that plane engines can be broken by the ash cloud that swept in direction of Europe.
Iceland is among the most volcanic areas on the planet.
It sits on the mid-Atlantic ridge, the place the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia are pulling aside by 2cm a 12 months.
Over tens of millions of years, a plume of molten rock poured from the rift, finally breaching the ocean floor to type an island.
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On common there’s an eruption from one in all Iceland’s 32 energetic volcanoes each 4 or 5 years, with rivers of lava shaping the stark panorama.
Among the eruptions have been catastrophic.
In 1783 round 1 / 4 of the inhabitants was killed following an eruption of the Laki/Skaftareldar volcano.
The largest present concern is over Katla, which final erupted in 1918. It lies beneath a whole bunch of metres of ice and any eruption is prone to trigger widespread flooding.