Government Emergency Response Plan Activated

iceland eruption grindavík

The government and tourism industry have activated a contingency plan in response to recent earthquakes on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Emergency response plan activated

Today, November 11, the Action Management of the Tourism Service (ASF) and the Execution Team of the Tourism Service (FHF) will be convened. This measure is in accordance with recent developments in the past 24 hours and the anticipated events outlined in the existing response plan.

The main elements of the plan focus on ensuring the safety of travelers in Iceland, informing travelers, minimizing the impact to travel, and ensuring information flow between tourism service providers and the Coordination Center of Civil Protection.

The plan can be read here in English.

Significant damage in Grindavík

Since its evacuation last night, significant damage has been reported in the town of Grindavík.

Large cracks in roads in and around the town have been recorded, in addition to structural damage to buildings.

ICE-SAR near grindavík
Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg – Submitted

A  main heating pipe running along Austurvegur to Grindavík was reported as broken, and heating to homes in Grindavík may be affected. Note that all residents have been evacuated since last night.

In an informational meeting held today by the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management today, experts stated that residents will not be able to return home in the coming days. Efforts are underway to arrange schooling for children and find accommodation for those who cannot stay with relatives, friends, or acquaintances.

Situation being monitored

According to the latest information from the Icelandic Met Office, around 800 earthquakes have been detected in the affected area since midnight. Although seismic activity has slightly decreased in the past few hours, it is still considerable. The most significant seismic activity in the last few hours has been towards the southwest, close to Grindavík.

Data from IMO suggests that the magma movement extends from Stóra-Skógsfell in the north to south of Grindavík towards the sea. The current depth of the top of the magma is estimated to be about 1.5 km. According to the latest GPS data, the rate of displacement is much higher than what has been measured in the recent changes in Reykjanes Peninsula. Based on these measurements and simulated data, the Icelandic Met Office believes the size of the magma movement and the associated lava flow appear to be multiple times greater than what has been observed in the recent changes in Reykjanes Peninsula in the past years.

iceland eruption reykjanes
Icelandic Met Office

The IMO states that the likelihood of a volcanic eruption in the near future “is considered significant.”

Read our overview of the situation here.





Emergency Phase Declared and Grindavík Evacuated

Evacuation of Grindavík on the Reykjanes peninsula

The town of Grindavík on the Reykjanes peninsula has been succesfully evacuated amid concerns that the intrusion of magma, believed to extend beneath the town, may reach the surface. An emergency phase has been declared, and the Red Cross has set up three emergency relief centres.

Evacuation complete

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, in collaboration with the Suðurnes Police, has declared an emergency phase owing to seismic activity in the Reykjanes peninsula. A mandatory evacuation of the town of Grindavík has been completed. The evacuation order was put into effect amid concerns that the intrusion of magma, which is believed to extend beneath the town of Grindavík, may reach the surface. The volume of magma that has accumulated has surpassed that of the previous three eruptions in the area.

A residential facility for disabled individuals and a nursing home for the elderly, severely damaged in recent earthquakes, were evacuated last night prior to the mandatory evacuation being imposed.

Not since the Westman Islands

During a press conference after 11 PM yesterday, Víðir Reynisson, Head of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, reminded residents that the evacuation was mandatory and was being carried out with the safety of the residents in mind. The Icelandic Meteorological Office’s instruments show clear signs of magma movement towards the surface.

“It is clear that we are dealing with events that we Icelanders have not experienced before, at least not since the eruption in the Westman Islands. We faced that together, we will face this together, and we will not be disheartened,” Víðir observed.

Grindavíkurvegur, a road leading to Grindavík from Reykjanesbrautin, was also closed last night due to a large crack that formed in the middle of it. The Road Administration has completed emergency repairs, but the road will remain closed.

Three emergency relief centres opened

The Red Cross has opened three emergency relief centres. These are located at Vallarskóli in Selfoss, the sports hall near Sunnubraut in Reykjanesbær, and Kórinn in Kópavogur. Domino’s has announced that it will deliver pizza to individuals staying at relief centres.

Residents of Grindavík who do not go to the emergency relief centres are asked to report their location by calling 1717. For more information on the seismic activity in Reykjanes, click here.

This article will be updated.