Icelandic Town Evacuated Over Volcano Fears
An Icelandic town near the capital Reykjavik and home to some 4,000 people was evacuated overnight after hundreds of tremors caused fears of a volcanic eruption, authorities said Saturday.
Iceland declared a state of emergency on Friday after a series of powerful earthquakes rocked the country's southwestern Reykjanes peninsula, in what could be a precursor to a volcanic eruption near Sundhnjukagigar, some three kilometres (1.86 miles) north of the town of Grindavik.
The town -- around 40 kilometres southwest of Reykjavik -- is located near the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa resort, a popular tourist destination which closed temporarily earlier this week as a precaution.
Grindavik is also near the Svartsengi geothermal plant, the main supplier of electricity and water to 30,000 residents on the Reykjanes peninsula.
Iceland has 33 active volcanic systems, the highest number in Europe.
The Icelandic Met Office had initially said that an eruption would most likely take place "in several days rather than hours", as magma had been observed accumulating under the Earth's surface at a depth of about five kilometres for several days.