Iceland to face ‘decades’ of volcanic chaos as locals fear new ‘eruptive cycle’

The people of Iceland could be set for “decades” of volcanic chaos after a new “eruptive cycle” saw streets ripped apart and untold devastation across the country this week.

Iceland has already declared a "state of emergency" in response to the many earthquakes and possible eruption, with Fagradalsfjall expected to spew lava from one of its craters within days, the Daily Star previously reported.

The town of Grindavik, near the capital of Reykjavík, is expected to bear the brunt of the Fagradalsfjall volcano's next blast, which has now been expected since last weekend. Already nearly 4,000 people have been evacuated from more than 1,000 homes.

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The town has suffered catastrophic effects of tens of thousands of earthquakes, with one area of land having sunk about one metre and still moving. A river of magma has also begun flowing under the village.

"The magma is now at a very shallow depth, so we're expecting an eruption within a couple of hours at the shortest, but at least within a couple of days," said Vidir Reynisson, head of Iceland's Civil Protection and Emergency Management Department, last weekend.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said there was a "considerable" risk of an eruption, while authorities in the country have said the flowing molten rock "could obliterate" Grindavik. And now experts have claimed that the chaos could last for “decades” according to The Icelandic Met Office's Matthew Roberts.

He told the BBC: “We expect to see volcanic eruptions along the peninsula, not just repeatedly in the same location. The magma intrusion is exploiting this exact same location again.”

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He went on to explain that while he wasn't expecting a huge explosion of lava – as often seen in films – he did think that a “low-intensity” eruption could happen . . . which equally bad news.

He added: “If that were to occur there would be lava flow to the south – possibly towards Grindavik – and also possibly north and westwards towards the Svartsengi power station and Blue Lagoon – nature always wins if the eruption is long enough.”

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