The strong earthquake swarm that started this week near Grindavik on Iceland's Reykjanes peninsula is caused by magma forming a dike - a vertical fissure-shaped intrusion at shallow depth, which allows the magma to rise and get closer to an eruption. This now threatens one of Iceland's most important tourism regions and is home to the iconic Blue Lagoon Resort. Civil Protection just declared a Level Orange emergency, and residents of Grindavík were told to evacuate.
I was recently in Iceland and personally witnessed over 2,000 strong earthquakes during my visit, which resulted in roads being blocked by falling lava rock and massive cracks forming on the main highway. The famed Blue Lagoon Resort, where I was staying, had to close many of the lagoons to tourists to avoid possible rocks. Ultimately, the resort decided to close when guests began to flee following larger earthquakes.
In Italy, a “super volcano” is the most dangerous volcanic threat in the country. The area of Campi Flegrei is located under the bay of Naples and the islands of Capri and Ischia to the outskirts of the city of Naples. An estimated 3 million residents of Naples live immediately near the edge of the volcano zone, and evacuation routes are currently being planned in the area.
According to Volcano Discovery, “the famed Mt Etna volcano in Italy shows clear signs that it is no longer in a deep slumber and might wake up with a more aggressive phase of eruptions at any time. With occasional, mild strombolian explosions from the SE crater this week, indications are that magma inside remains high.”
They add, “In many cases, such activity has been prelude for violent lava-fountaining episodes known as paroxysms, such as last in August this year. The onset of these is usually characterized by increasing strombolian activity along with a rise in volcanic tremor, first increasing gradually over hours or days, then very sharply during few minutes until reaching impressive peaks of violent activity.”
Experts are now warning about other volcanoes around the world that are posing a significant threat and believe a warming planet due to human-induced climate change is likely to contribute to the rise of volcanoes erupting. There are currently 46 volcanoes in continuing eruption status as of 11 October 2023, according to Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, “There are typically 40-50 continuing eruptions, and out of those generally around 20 will be actively erupting on any particular day.”
Among the most active areas in the world, Indonesia leads the pack with seven eruptions happening. Other high-activity areas include Russia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, and even the United States, which has two active volcanos.
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