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