From Iceland — Magma Beneath Grindavík At 800 Metres Below Surface

Magma Beneath Grindavík At 800 Metres Below Surface

Published November 13, 2023

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Magma collecting underneath Grindavík is measured at a depth of 800 metres at the shallowest point, according to GPS measurements from the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Following a dense and intense series of earthquakes on Nov. 10, a magma intrusion has formed on the Reykjanes peninsula, crossing Grindavík. The tunnel extends approximately 15 kilometres, running from Kálfhellsheiði Pass, northeast of the Svartsengi Power Plant and the Blue Lagoon, and out into the ocean southwest of Grindavík.

“GPS measurements covering the past 24 hours show that deformation associated with the dyke intrusion that formed on Friday, November 10th has slowed,” the Met Office is reporting. “This can be an indication that magma is moving closer to the surface, new models will be run as soon as new data comes in to update the model.”

All inhabitants of Grindavík were evacuated late in the night on Nov. 10, as the Civil Authorities declared an emergency/distress phase. Emergency aid shelters were set up by the Icelandic Red Cross in Reykjanesbær, Selfoss and Kópavogur.

People living in the Þórkötlustaðahverfi district of Grindavík were permitted five minutes each to fetch their belongings, under close supervision on nov. 12. Today, the Police Chief of Suðurnes decided to allow inhabitants of certain neighbourhoods to retrieve their personal belongings. The permitted zone is to the east of Víkurvegur, north of Austurvegur.

Houses, roads, and infrastructure have suffered extensive damage from earthquakes and dikes which have appeared.

Today, November 13, Alþingi Parliament is scheduled to discuss a bill on the construction of fortifications on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir expects the vote to be unanimously in favour, RÚV reports.

The current status remains unchanged from yesterday. The Met Office will publish updated information later today.

The Grapevine visited the Kópavogur emergency aid shelter. Watch the full video here:

Note, the image accompanying this article is from the 2021 eruption in the Fagradalsfjall volcanic system. No magma has breached the surface at the time of writing.

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