Iceland Volcano Replace As City’s Cracked Floor at Danger of Collapse

The Icelandic city of Grindavík is prone to collapsing within the aftermath of the latest volcanic eruption.

The volcano erupted on January 14, with lava pouring from fissures that opened on the fringe of the city, setting fireplace to a number of of the homes.

Now, regardless of the eruption coming to a halt, these fissures are additional endangering the city.

“The chance related to cracks continues to be assessed as very excessive. It’s the hazard that’s now known as ‘crack collapse’ and describes a hazard that will exist the place cracks are hidden beneath an unstable floor that will give method,” the Icelandic Met Workplace (IMO) mentioned in a translated assertion on Thursday. “The chance from crack actions is now estimated to be appreciable.”

On this handout picture offered by the Iceland Coast Guard, lava is seen spewing from a volcano on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula after its eruption on January 14, 2024, close to Grindavik, Iceland. Cracks fashioned by the…

Icelandic Coast Guard by way of Getty Pictures

The newest eruption marked the second on the Reykjanes peninsula prior to now month, and the fifth since 2021. The December eruption emerged round 2.5 miles away from Grindavík, however the January eruption noticed lava pouring straight into the city. The 4,000 or so residents of Grindavík had been evacuated on January 13 simply earlier than the volcano started erupting once more in earnest.

“Iceland is sitting on the boundary between two tectonic plates – the Eurasian and North American plates, that are shifting aside from one another. This drives melting of the mantle to create magma which ultimately makes its technique to the earth’s floor to trigger an eruption,” Chris Firth, a volcano researcher at Macquarie College in Australia, advised Newsweek.

“However it additionally explains how the placement of the eruptions can transfer. The boundary between the plates creates a rift that magma can use to get to the floor. On this case, the magma has additionally been shifting alongside the rift, quite than simply shifting vertically to the earth’s floor. The present eruption might be a part of a wider sequence of linked eruptions that started in 2021 with the eruptions of Fagradalsfjall.”

Now, the “crack collapse” could happen in areas of the city the place the bottom is already unstable, and will result in the bottom floor giving method. Moreover, one other eruption could also be imminent, as a result of charge at which the bottom is deforming to due magma gathering within the chamber beneath it.

“In latest days, land has risen by as much as 8 mm per day, which is barely quicker than what was measured earlier than the eruption on January 14,” the IMO mentioned within the assertion. “At this level, it’s troublesome to say how a lot magma has collected for the reason that eruption ended on January 16. It’s possible that the time it takes to succeed in the identical stage of magma as earlier than the final eruption is measured in weeks quite than days.”

Regardless of the development of rocky defenses on the fringe of the city in an try to stem the circulate of lava towards the homes and redirect it away, the eruption surged out of each side of the obstacles, and lots of the buildings had been inundated by the intensely sizzling stream of molten rock.

“The lava temperature can be within the vary of 1,000-1,200 levels Celsius. Sadly, its excessive temperature and energy (suppose the pressure of lots of of bulldozers pushing in opposition to one thing) imply {that a} lava circulate will be extremely damaging for infrastructure. There are efforts to construct mounds and partitions to attempt to divert the lava flows round components of the city and these could make a distinction because the lava flows are certain by gravity and can circulate downhill taking the best path. At the very least they’re comparatively gradual shifting permitting a while for evacuation and administration.”

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