From Iceland — Ground Survey Work Ongoing In Grindavík

Ground Survey Work Ongoing In Grindavík

Published February 22, 2024

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Ground survey work is ongoing in Grindavík as residents and business owners continue to be permitted into the area around the clock. Surveys to date have indicated there are large crevasses beneath several areas within the town limits, according to a new report from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management.

More in depth survey work will have to wait until the snow melts.

The areas where significant cracks and cavities have been identified are on Hópbrait, Vesturhóp and Suðurhóp. Those crevasses connect to Stamphólagjá fissure that cuts a two kilometre long path through the town. Plots around Ránargata, Austurvegur and east of Víkurbraut which connect to the fissure will also need to be examined more closely by surveyors.

“Completely stupid” to reopen

Though Grindavík was reopened 24/7 a of Monday morning, not everyone thinks it’s a positive development. Suðurnes Chief of Police Úlfar Lúðvíksson specified that people can return at their own risk, but advised against anyone spending the night.

Meanwhile Hörður Guðbrandsson, chair of Grindavík trade union Verkalýdfélag Grindavíkur, didn’t mince words in describing his thoughts on the reopening. “I think it’s completely stupid to allow people to stay there,” Hörður told national broadcaster RÚV on Wednesday. “The town is practically falling apart, with no cold water, almost no hot water and a sewage system that people haven’t tested under pressure, and a cracked town that is [still] being investigated for cracks, but not yet worked on. I have a lot of doubts about this.”


Grindavík was evacuated on Nov. 10, 2023, amid a series of strong earthquakes centred on the town. Those quakes were a result of a volcanic fissure forming that stretches from Sundhnúkur volcanic craters just northeast of the Blue Lagoon and Svartsengi Power Plant beneath Grindavík and offshore under the sea bed.

Volcanic eruptions have occurred along that fissure line on Dec. 18, 2023, and Jan. 14 and Feb. 8, 2024. Those eruptions are being fed by a magma reservoir beneath Svartsengi that is perpertually filling and causing ground uplift in the area.

Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson has told the Grapevine the entirely of the Reykjanes peninsula has entered a volcanically active period that could persist for 200 years.

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