Krafla Geothermal Area Attracts International Research Project

Krafla Mývatnssveit power plant electricity

Some 15 international doctoral students are studying the Krafla geothermal area in Northern Iceland to understand how to best use its energy resources, reports RÚV.

Central to the investigation is a thorough measurement and mapping of the magma chamber below Krafla caldera. Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, professor of geophysics at University of Iceland, has stressed the difficulty in determining the exact location of the magma chamber and its distribution across the area. However, given the extensive measurements now underway, Magnús Tumi says that the project will hopefully yield both theoretical and practical results.

The doctoral students are part of the international research initiative, IMPROVE, a project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. The project focuses on early-career researchers and features co-operation between both academia and industry. IMPROVE focuses on two main sites: Mount Etna in Italy, one of the best-monitored volcanic areas in the world, and the Krafla caldera in Iceland, an important site for geothermal energy production.

Within Iceland, the project is led by the Institute of Earth Sciences at University of Iceland, with support from the National Power Company of Iceland and 12 other universities. 

The Krafla caldera was last active from 1975 to 1984. Prior to this, the only recorded eruption was in 1720, making it an unlikely candidate for Iceland’s next eruption, according to Magnús Tumi.

Police Record Multiple Violent Incidents Over Busy Weekend

Metropolitan Police

Capital area police registered nearly 200 incidents over the weekend, including three serious cases of assault, reports Vísir.

Þóra Jónasdóttir, assistant chief of police in the capital region, said in a statement that from Saturday to Sunday evening, ten assaults were reported across the city. Of the three serious assault cases reported, two took place in the Hlíðar neighbourhood, and one took place at Auto, a nightclub in downtown Reykjavík. 

Þóra also stated that weapons were used in several of the assaults, with one case leading to hospitalisation in the emergency room. In total, four arrests were made over the weekend.

In addition to the more serious assault cases, Fréttablaðið also reports an incident over the weekend, in which a man threatened the staff of a downtown restaurant with a knife. The incident is reported as an attempted robbery, and the suspect was taken into custody shortly after.

Partially in response to increased tourism and nightlife following the recent COVID restrictions, the Góða Skemmtun (Have Fun) initiative has been founded through co-operation between the Ministry of Justice, National Commissioner of Police, and Iceland’s emergency services to promote a safer downtown nightlife. 

Sharp Rise In Demand and Price of Hotel Accomodation

Icelandair Marina Hotel

The Statistics Office of Iceland reports that overnight stays in Icelandic hotels have nearly tripled since the same time in the previous year.

The primary driver of this increased demand came from the tourism industry, with tourists making up some 79% of overnight stays. The largest increase has been recorded in the capital region.

Increased prices have accompanied the increased demand for accommodation. In a recent article in Fréttablaðið, Icelandic traveller Þorsteinn Gunnarsson stated that just a three-night stay in Akureyri would have cost him some ISK 263,000 ($1,974 / €1,888). Þorsteinn claims that these prices raise questions of ethics and greed, and he regrets that Icelanders cannot tour their own country, choosing instead to vacation in Tenerife, for example.

Snorri Pétur Eggertson, managing director of Kea Hotel’s sales and marketing division, did not dispute Þorsteinn’s claims but attributed the rise in price to the global pandemic, supply chain shocks, inflation, and increased numbers in tourism.

According to the Statistics Office, there were already 558,000 overnight stays in Iceland in May, with more projected for the coming summer months.