Iceland is more than simply ice, despite the name. Also, 130 volcanoes, some active and some dormant, call this country home. Now one of them is erupting.
Lava entered the Reykjanes Peninsula town of Grindavík on January 14. For their safety, the city’s inhabitants were forced to leave. Home after home was leveled by raging lava. It was fortunate that things seemed to be improving the following day. In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Matthew Roberts of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) stated that things have “very much eased.”
Since 2020, experts have noticed a surge in activity on the peninsula. Prior to it, the region had lain inactive for about 800 years. Thousands of earthquakes, some of which were barely audible, have been discovered by experts in the past few months. While these earthquakes are still occurring, they are becoming less frequent and less powerful.
According to volcanologist Thorvaldur Thordarson of the University of Iceland, who spoke with The New York Times, the Reykjanes Peninsula is starting a “new chapter” that will be ongoing for quite some time. The area is densely populated, and its inhabitants are now in danger, he said.
In anticipation of an eruption, the Icelandic government fortified the area surrounding the geothermal power plant that supplies the country with hot water. Authorities must begin seeking “long-term solutions,” according to the country’s prime minister Katrin Jakobsdottir.
For residents, watching their homes go up in flames was heartbreaking. Teacher Unndor Sigurdsson, who has three kids, helped build his own home. It was just finished recently. He witnessed the devastation of his house as he and his family fled while watching a video of the eruption. He explained that it looked like his house wasn’t even there. In its place is just a layer of black lava. That hasn’t stopped him from wanting to return to his home. “When it is possible, and allowed, I will move back to Grindavík,” he said.