Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula experienced a series of earthquakes throughout Friday, with two registering above 5.0 in magnitude and at least seven exceeding 4.5, raising concerns about a possible eruption in the coming hours or days. The Icelandic Meteorological Office declared a Civil Protection Emergency Level in the area near the Fagradalsfjall volcano, located approximately 25 miles southwest of Reykjavik. Tremors were felt in Reykjavik, leading to the closure of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Grindavik.
The cause of the increased seismic activity remains uncertain, and it is unclear whether it is linked to Fagradalsfjall or indicative of another eruption within the Reykjanes volcanic system. Authorities ordered the evacuation of Grindavik due to the potential opening of violent volcanic fissures in or near the town. Seismic data and GPS measurements suggest the possibility of a magma intrusion beneath Grindavik, raising concerns about a forming magmatic dike—a sheet of magma flowing through rock fractures.
The situation prompted a Code Orange, Level 3 out of 4, on the volcano alert scale at Keflavik Airport. While intermittent eruptive sequences have occurred in the region since 2021, the current seismic unrest suggests a potentially more significant and imminent eruption. Drawing parallels to the prelude of the 2021 Fagradalsfjall eruption, the Meteorological Office estimates several days for magma to reach the surface. The earthquakes have resulted in road damage, and uplift of up to three inches has been observed near the volcano.