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Iceland volcano – live: Almost 100 earthquakes strike in seismic swarm during eruption fears

Almost 100 earthquakes shook Iceland from midnight today, as the country remains apprehensive about an imminent eruption.

The strongest earthquake with a magnitude of 3.35 hit Vatnafjoll in South Iceland this morning at 5.56am, report the Icelandic Met Office.

Yesterday night a seismic swarm started around the dike intrusion just north of the evacuated town of Grindavik.

The Icelandic Met Office continues to warn of the “persistent likelihood of an imminent eruption”.

In its latest update, the forecaster said there were around 100 earthquakes on Monday, with a “swarm” near the town which lasted just over an hour before midnight.

A fortnight ago, Grindavik was evacuated after magma-induced seismic activity tore vast chasms through the streets of the town.

While hundreds of earthquakes are still hitting the surrounding area daily, “seismic activity continues to decrease”, said the Icelandic Met Office, adding: “The likelihood of an imminent volcanic eruption diminishes with time.”

However, one civil protection official told theThe Independent “It is still dangerous here ... I have never seen anything like it before. Usually we will have a few minutes warning to get out, but with the weather like it is today, we have even less.”

Key Points

  • Biggest earthquake in 48 hours recorded

  • Met Office issues magma warning as likelihood of imminent eruption remains

  • Evacuation zone 'still dangerous' as eruption could occur with only minutes' notice

  • Ground near power plant swells as chamber beneath floods with magma

07:50 , Alex Ross

Really interesting update from the Icelandic Met Office issued on the possible location of the eruption.

As we know, the focus has long been on the dike in the area close to the evacuated town of Grindavik, but there has since been suggestions it could actually be north of the community.

Well, the country’s Met Office has now issued a detailed update after a series of earthquakes over the weekend and the start of this week.

It states that GPS data and satellite images show the “uplift” continues in the area of Svartseng, which is next to the Blue Lagoon attraction, around three miles north of Grindavik.

It adds: “In light of the available data and the newest analysis, an eruption along the dike is still considered likely as long as the magma inflow continues.”

Then the update goes so far to say where the eruption is predicted to take place, if it happens.

It continues: “It is assessed that the area with the highest likelihood for an eruption is in the middle part of the dike between Hagafell and Sýlingarfell.”

Both Hagafell and Sýlingarfell are north of Grindavik, and are about four miles apart from each other.

Dike ‘wider than initially assessed'

09:08 , Alex Ross

The Icelandic Met Office has been doing further testing on the magma dike which formed on 10 November, resulting in the evaucation of the town of Grindavik.

It has found that the dike, at its depth, could be wider than initially assessed.

This means it will take more time for the magma to solidify, possibly a few months, and therefore the threat of an eruption will remain for longer.

The update reads: “Additional geodetical modelling has been performed to reconstruct the evolution of the dike which formed on 10 November.

“These newest results suggest that the dike at depth could be wider than initially assessed. The time needed to solidify the magma that intruded into the dike would be therefore estimated to be on the order of a few months.”

Predicted location

08:14 , Alex Ross

Here’s a map showing the area the Icelandic Met Office predict the eruption will be, between Hagafell and Sýlingarfell.

Grindavik residents still face the unknown

06:00 , Lydia Patrick

Volcanologists predict it is less likely an eruption will take place in the town of Grindavik but they cannot outrule the possibility of an eruption just north of the town.

Siggeir Ævarsson, 38, is a Grindavik resident who does not know if he will be able to return to his family home alongside his wife and youngest daughter, Þórgunnur Júlía,10, and two cats.

They are currently staying with their in-laws in Reykjavík.

Mr Ævarsson told The Independent yesterday: “We’re all just waiting.

“A lot of people are struggling with finding places to stay long term that fit with their family.”

Siggeir Ævarsson and his wife Soffía Sveinsdóttir are trying to remain positive despite  not knowing if they will be able to return home (Provided)
Siggeir Ævarsson and his wife Soffía Sveinsdóttir are trying to remain positive despite not knowing if they will be able to return home (Provided)

‘An eruption north of the town cannot be excluded yet'

04:00 , Lydia Patrick

An eruption within or just outside the town of Grindavik cannot be ruled out, says University of Iceland volcanologist .

Páll Einarsson told The Independent:

Things are developing slowly. The over-all earthquake activity is slowly decreasing. But there was a swarm of earthquakes yesterday night that most likely signals displacement of magma within the active dike. The narrowest sections of the dike are considered to have solidified already, but the thickest sections probably need months to solidify. The probability for an eruption within the town of Grindavík is considered to be decreasing but an eruption north of the town cannot be excluded yet.

Páll Einarsson

Every resident of an Icelandic town was evacuated due to a volcano. Daring rescuers went back to save the pets.

02:00 , Lydia Patrick

Hundreds of pets have been rescued from Iceland’s town of Grindavik, after they were separated from their owners over threats of an imminent volcanic eruption.

Charities have taken part in a number of rescue efforts in a bid to save animals in the town with rescuers returning to look for animals.

Cats, dogs, hamsters and even hens were at the centre of rescue efforts after many were left behind following evacuation orders which gave residents minutes to leave. Over 4,000 people were evacuated.

On-the-ground reporter Barney Davies covered the rescue mission in Grindavik last week

Rescue effort to save pets left behind in Iceland town evacuated by volcano threat

Grindavik residents struggle to find long term accomodation

00:01 , Lydia Patrick

Siggeir Ævarsson, 38, is a Grindavik resident who evacuated his home town two weeks ago alongside his wife and youngest daughter, Þórgunnur Júlía,10, and two cats.

They are currently staying with their in-laws in Reykjavík but he says many residents are struggling to find long term affordable accommodation.

“The only places available are super expensive, tiny or somewhere out in the country,” Mr Ævarsson told the Independent.

Rules that Grindavik residents must abide

Tuesday 28 November 2023 21:58 , Barney Davis

Grindavik residents wishing to return to pick up possessions have to leave the town by 4pm just before sundown.

  • It is recommended that people come in their own cars, maximum 1 car per household . It is not recommended that children be taken due to the local conditions.

  • Container trucks, containers or container transporters, large vans, box trucks and trailers are not permitted in residential areas due to the risk of them delaying or obstructing other traffic, with regard to the safety of people in the area.

  • There is neither effective drainage nor running water, so you cannot use toilets in houses in Grindavík. The plan is to build toilets in the town.

  • It is recommended that people bring water and other food items for the day, as they are not available in the town.

  • Keep in mind that houses could be unsafe. You can contact the local response team.

  • There is no room for residents to move their homes away, but they can take their main valuables and clothing with them.

  • Industrialists and residents have to work in houses where the heating supply is not working.

  • Residents are encouraged to walk to and from their houses in such a way as to be able to evacuate at short notice.

 (Barney Davis)
(Barney Davis)

Hundreds of earthquakes rock Svartsengi - the largest being magnitude 3

Tuesday 28 November 2023 20:58 , Barney Davis

An earthquake swarm was measured near Svartsengi around midnight.

Such a rapid burst of earthquakes has not been measured in at least two days.

The swarm was measured under the northern part of Sundhnúkur crater row.

The largest earthquake to date was a magnitude 3, according to the most recent measurements by the Icelandic Met Office.

The Icelandic Met Office continues to warn of the “persistent likelihood of an imminent eruption”.

 (Met Office)
(Met Office)

Blue Lagoon extends closure until December 7

Tuesday 28 November 2023 19:58 , Barney Davis

Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon is to be closed for nearly a month after earthquakes rocked the area closing roads.

A spokesman announced the decision on Tuesday saying: “On November 9, Blue Lagoon made the proactive decision to temporarily close its facilities, affecting operations at Blue Lagoon, Silica Hotel, Retreat Spa, Retreat Hotel, Lava, and Moss Restaurant.

“Considering disruptions to our guests’ experience and the sustained pressure on our employees, these precautionary measures were taken to ensure safety and wellbeing for all.

“The closure will remain in effect until 07:00 on December 7, at which point the situation will be reassessed.”

The Blue Lagoon is a dream destination for hundreds and thousands every year (Atlas Photography)
The Blue Lagoon is a dream destination for hundreds and thousands every year (Atlas Photography)

Former president of Iceland says Grindavik mayor hopes economic activity returns

Tuesday 28 November 2023 19:08 , Barney Davis

The former president of Iceland has acknowledged that residents of Grindavik may still be concerned about returning to the major fishing port after an earthquake split it in two.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson posted on X: “Due to reduced risks the people of #Grindavik are now allowed more time in their return visits.

“The Mayor even expressed his hope that economic activity might soon be back to some kind of normal. Perhaps the eruption was a temporary scare!

“But monumental destruction occurred.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lava trenches around power planet ‘ahead of schedule'

Tuesday 28 November 2023 17:54 , Barney Davis

The construction of lava trenches are ahead of schedule, the Director of the Civil Protection and Emergency Management Department told RÚV.

The barriers are to surround Svartsengi Power Plant and the neighbouring Blue Lagoon, and are expected to take 30-40 days to complete.

The Independent saw the fast pace trucks carrying rocks were smoothed over by bulldozers creating kilometres of lava trenches.

While an evacuation order remains in effect for Grindavík, authorities have relaxed restrictions for the town’s residents and businesses, who are permitted to enter the town in order to take care of their property and retrieve belongings.

General view of the Svartsengi geothermal power plant, near the evacuated town of Grindavik, in Iceland, (REUTERS)
General view of the Svartsengi geothermal power plant, near the evacuated town of Grindavik, in Iceland, (REUTERS)

ICYMI - What to do with Grindavík: Has Iceland’s #1 selfie spot just emerged out of the ground?

Tuesday 28 November 2023 17:00 , Lydia Patrick

From the spectacular Northern Lights to the stunning waters of Blue Lagoon, Iceland is certainly not short of tourist attractions.

But the country may have found another spot for tourists to take selfies in front of, after the small harbour town of Grindavík was hit by thousands of earthquakes.

As fears of an imminent volcanic eruption subside, the town is looking at how best to recover after streets were torn up and residents fled for safety.

The crater left behind in the wake of the chaos spreads from a Lutheran church and nursery all the way through a children’s playground and underneath the fabled Grindavík basketball team’s plush new stadium with the season about to start.

Our reporter Barney Davis visited the town of Grindavik last week, here is what he discovered

Iceland’s new #1 selfie spot may have emerged out of ground despite volcano threat

100 earthquakes hit Iceland since midnight

Tuesday 28 November 2023 09:11 , Lydia Patrick

The strongest earthquake with a magnitude of 3.35 hit Vatnafjoll in South Iceland this morning at 5.56am, report the Icelandic Met Office.

Yesterday night a seismic swarm started around the dike intrusion just north of the evacuated town of Grindavik.

The Icelandic Met Office continues to warn of the “persistent likelihood of an imminent eruption”.

In its latest update, the forecaster said there were around 100 earthquakes on Monday, with a “swarm” near the town which lasted just over an hour before midnight.

Damage caused from earthquakes and magma beneath the town o (Getty Images)
Damage caused from earthquakes and magma beneath the town o (Getty Images)

ICYMI - What to do with Grindavík: Has Iceland’s #1 selfie spot just emerged out of the ground?

Tuesday 28 November 2023 08:30 , Lydia Patrick

From the spectacular Northern Lights to the stunning waters of Blue Lagoon, Iceland is certainly not short of tourist attractions.

But the country may have found another spot for tourists to take selfies in front of, after the small harbour town of Grindavík was hit by thousands of earthquakes.

As fears of an imminent volcanic eruption subside, the town is looking at how best to recover after streets were torn up and residents fled for safety.

The crater left behind in the wake of the chaos spreads from a Lutheran church and nursery all the way through a children’s playground and underneath the fabled Grindavík basketball team’s plush new stadium with the season about to start.

Our reporter Barney Davis visited the town of Grindavik last week, here is what he discovered

Iceland’s new #1 selfie spot may have emerged out of ground despite volcano threat

170 earthquakes hit yesterday

Tuesday 28 November 2023 07:33 , Lydia Patrick

170 earthquakes hit the surrounding areas of Sýlingarfell and Hagafe on Sunday night, say the Icelandic Met Office.

At around midnight on 27 November a short-lived seismic swarm commenced in the vicinity of Sýlingarfell and lasted for roughly one hour.

“Earthquake swarms have persisted since land began moving on October 27 at Þorbjörn, although it has been fairly quiet the last few days,” says a statement from the Icelandic Met Office.

COSMO-Skymed interferogram spanning 24-hours between 18−19 November at 06:41. The broad uplift signal visible in orange/red around Svartsengi is indicative of a deep inflation (The Icelandic Met Office)
COSMO-Skymed interferogram spanning 24-hours between 18−19 November at 06:41. The broad uplift signal visible in orange/red around Svartsengi is indicative of a deep inflation (The Icelandic Met Office)

Locations of earthquakes

Tuesday 28 November 2023 06:00 , Katy Clifton

Map showing the “swarm” of earthquakes around the dike intrusion near the town of Grindavik, in the south west of the country.

 (Icelandic Met Office)
(Icelandic Met Office)

Should you visit?

Tuesday 28 November 2023 05:00 , Alex Ross

It’s a question many people have been asking. After reading the reports of a possible eruption, holiday-makers are understandably concerned over whether they should still make the trip.

The UK Foreign Office does not advice against travel to the island.

However, it does urge people to stay away from the town of Grindavik, which has been evacuated as a precaution.

This is the latest advice: “The Icelandic authorities continue to monitor the area closely, particularly the area northwest of Mt Thorbjörn near the Svartsengi power plant and the Blue Lagoon.

“On 10 November, a Civil Protection Alert was declared after an intense swarm of earthquakes.

“The town of Grindavík was evacuated as a precaution. Some roads have been closed and visitors are advised to stay away from the area. Keflavik International Airport is operating as normal.

“While there is no current eruption, it is increasingly possible that one could occur. You should monitor local media for updates and follow the authorities advice on travel to the area.”

The town of Grindavik has been evacuated (Barney Davis)
The town of Grindavik has been evacuated (Barney Davis)

One big job - someone has to do it

Tuesday 28 November 2023 04:00 , Alex Ross

While a warning still stands of a possible volcanic eruption, contractors have got to work already on repairing some of the cracks which appeared in the evacuated town of Grindavik.

As this post on X shows, it’s going to take alot of earth to fill. but work has started on attempting to bring back into use some of the damaged roads in the town.

‘Majority of the dike at Svarsengi has hardened'

Tuesday 28 November 2023 02:00 , Alex Ross

The chances of a volcanic eruption is decreasing as 90 per cent of the dike has solidified, according to the professor of geophysics at the University of iceland.

Speaking to media outlet mbl.is, Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson added: “This doesn’t preclude that there’s still something left and that there’s still an open way the magma could go upwards, if more magma accumulates.

“But the likelihood of an eruption has become considerably lower than it was, among other things, because of this.”

Media centre closed

Tuesday 28 November 2023 00:01 , Alex Ross

While we’ve been continuing to provide full coverage of the situation in Iceland, including the sending of a reporter to the island last week, it appears media attention has started to wain as the chances of an eruption lower.

To accommodate foreign media, a centre was opened - but now local outlet RUV.is report “all the media people are gone - althought it cannot be ruled out that some are still in Iceland.”

The centre in Hafnarfjörðuris now available to rent.

Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, communications director of Almannavarna, said: “You can’t walk in, but there’s all the information on the door,” she says. Point to a specific email address and the Tourism Office will respond to all emails received there, in consultation with the National Defense Agency.”

Icelanders reunited with pets after fleeing homes amid volcano threat

Monday 27 November 2023 22:00 , Holly Evans

Hundreds of pets have been rescued from Iceland’s town of Grindavik, after they were separated from their owners over threats of an imminent volcanic eruption.

Charities have taken part in a number of rescue efforts in a bid to save animals in the town with rescuers returning to look for animals.

Cats, dogs, hamsters and even hens were at the centre of rescue efforts after many were left behind following evacuation orders which gave residents minutes to leave. Over 4,000 people were evacuated.

Read the full article from Barney Davis

Rescue effort to save pets left behind in Iceland town evacuated by volcano threat

Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Your rights if you have a holiday booked

Monday 27 November 2023 20:08 , Holly Evans

The earth is at its most restless in Iceland right now. The Reykjanes peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik, is seething with seismic activity sparking hundreds of small earthquakes.

The town of Grindavík, just 10 miles south of Keflavik International Airport, has been evacuated as a precaution.

Yet flights are continuing to arrive and depart as normal. These are the key questions and answers on consumer rights.

Read more here

Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Your rights if you have a holiday booked

Has Iceland’s #1 selfie spot just emerged out of the ground?

Monday 27 November 2023 19:15 , Holly Evans

From the spectacular Northern Lights to the stunning waters of Blue Lagoon, Iceland is certainly not short of tourist attractions.

But the country may have found another spot for tourists to take selfies in front of, after the small harbour town of Grindavík was hit by thousands of earthquakes.

As fears of an imminent volcanic eruption subside, the town is looking at how best to recover after streets were torn up and residents fled for safety.

Read the full story from our reporter Barney Davis here

Iceland’s new #1 selfie spot may have emerged out of ground despite volcano threat

Update on works in Grindavik

Monday 27 November 2023 16:40 , Alex Ross

It is now more than two weeks since the residents of Grindavik were evacuated from their homes over fears of an imminent volcanic eruption.

Now, after the media was allowed to visit for reports last week, an update has been given on the infrastructure of the fishing town.

Víðir Reynisson, senior police officer of the public safety department of the National Police, told a briefing that the drainage pipes in the area were in “quite good” condition, despite the cracks appearing in many of the roads.

He added that there was going to be an attempt to start the activities of fish processing companies this week, acccording to RUV.is.

And he said work on defences in the town, including a wall designed to stop lava flow, had gone better than expected and was ahead of schedule.

Call for modular houses

Monday 27 November 2023 15:42 , Alex Ross

A couple who moved to safety at an “emergency fund house” in Keilufelli after an volcanis eruption five decades ago say the Government should build modular houses for for those from Grindavik.

Ágústa and Ernst Óskars Kettler were both forced from the Vestmanna Islands after an eruption in 1973, and have lived away from home ever since, report RUV.is.

The Swedish-designed house they live in is made of wood, and they say is homely and successful.

Now they say similar homes should be provided to people who have been evacuated from Grindavik.

Ágústa said: “They should just throw up houses like this, no later than yesterday, because it is quite possible to count on the fact that some of the Grindvíkings cannot think of returning home.”

The wait.... for something that might not happen

Monday 27 November 2023 14:30 , Alex Ross

With 1,200 households evacuated from the fishing town of Grindavik, it remains a waiting game for many residents being kept up to date by the country’s main TV news channel RUV.is.

With the police checkpoint more than 15 miles from the town, people are feeling a long way from home. Although they have been allowed to come back and get belongings in day-time windows.

Jon Baglundsson, spokesperson for the ICE-SAR, a volunteer rescue team, told Independent reporter Barney Davis: “There hasn’t been any panicking but they do realise what can happen ... they show understanding and have concern for their own safety.

“Imagine being evacuated from your home and you have no idea when or if you will have a home to return to. The uncertainty is probably the worst.”

Iceland glued to ‘imminent’ volcano eruption amid 30 minute warning

Drone footage

Monday 27 November 2023 12:30 , Alex Ross

Incredible drone footage has emerged showing the extent of crack in the streets in the evacuated town of Grindavik.

Our reporter visited the town last week to discover a structurally damaged parish, but a strong community battling on despite the conditions.

Among the people he spoke to was the manager of Kattholt Animal Shelter, who was returnign daily to rescue hundreds of pets from the town.

He also discovered a new craze of people taking selfies next to the craters in the road.

Biggest earthquake in 48 hours recorded

Monday 27 November 2023 07:53 , Alex Ross

More on that earthquake recorded three miles from Grindavik this morning.

It was part of a swarm of quakes around the dike intrusuion north of the town which lasted for just over an hour, the Icelandic Met Office has said.

It added: “From midnight around 300 earthquakes were detected, the largest 3.0M by Sundhnjúkur.”

In total, there were around 700 earthquakes detected near the intrusion on Sunday.

Despite that number, the Met Office does say that the seismic activity is continuing to decrease. But there’s still concern on the island, as our reporter Barney Davis discovered on a visit.

Every resident of an Icelandic town was evacuated due to a volcano. Daring rescuers went back to save the pets

Monday 27 November 2023 07:00 , Matt Mathers

Every resident of an Icelandic town was evacuated due to a volcano. Daring rescuers went back to save the pets

Cats, dogs, hamsters and even hens were at the centre of rescue efforts, reports Barney Davis from Iceland

Barney Davis reports:

Rescue effort to save pets left behind in Iceland town evacuated by volcano threat

Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano

Monday 27 November 2023 06:00 , Matt Mathers

A sense of trepidation builds on the coach as we are waved through the roadblock that has held back people from returning to the Icelandic town of Grindavik amid an “imminent” volcanic eruption warning.

But the volunteer rescue forces posted on guard duty in battering 32mph winds have to follow the strict instructions of Iceland’s tourist minister. There is a lot of high-speed arguing in Icelandic, and eventually we pass through.

Barney Davis reports:

Inside the abandoned Iceland town left in limbo by a volcano

Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Your rights if you have a holiday booked

Monday 27 November 2023 05:00 , Matt Mathers

The earth is at its most restless in Iceland right now. The Reykjanes peninsula, southwest of Reykjavik, is seething with seismic activity sparking hundreds of small earthquakes.

The town of Grindavík, just 10 miles south of Keflavik International Airport, has been evacuated as a precaution.

Yet flights are continuing to arrive and depart as normal. These are the key questions and answers on consumer rights.

I am in Iceland. Will I be able to leave? Simon Calder reports:

Is it safe to travel to Iceland? Your rights if you have a holiday booked

‘ Increase in tourists coming certainly’

Monday 27 November 2023 11:38 , Alex Ross

When Independent reporter Barney Davis visited the ghost town of Grindavik last week, he discovered an old fishing town which looked set to add tourism to its bow of strings to offer.

As enormous craters still dominate the centre of the town, there’s already thoughts to how this will play out if the eruption happens, or not.

Snorri Valsson, Iceland’s spokesperson, led the first tour of Grindavík for the world’s media during a blistering hailstorm.

And he said: “Grindavík is the quintessential fishing town that has been Iceland’s backbone throughout the centuries. It has an excellent museum already on the tradition of salted fish making, for example.

“But I see an increase in tourists coming certainly since the earthquake because the infrastructure will be repaired and there’s a history of the events of recent days.

“I could imagine it could be a focus point of the visitor’s centre for years to come because of these events and the effect it had on town life. For Iceland’s economy, it is extremely important Grindavík gets back to normal it has impacted the decisions of the central bank already.”

Snorri Valsson Iceland’s spokesperson for tourism stands in front of a retirement home split in two by the earthquake (Barney Davis)
Snorri Valsson Iceland’s spokesperson for tourism stands in front of a retirement home split in two by the earthquake (Barney Davis)

Watch: Smoke billows from Grindavik crater as rescue underway for fear of volcano eruption

Monday 27 November 2023 02:30 , Matt Mathers

Watch: Seismologist spots earthquake during equipment explanation

Monday 27 November 2023 01:30 , Matt Mathers

Watch: Roads with cracks across Grindavik as volcano threatens to erupt

Monday 27 November 2023 00:30 , Matt Mathers

‘It was like a warning from God’

Sunday 26 November 2023 23:30 , Matt Mathers

Earthquakes shook a church bell in Grindavik like a “warning from God”, a resident has said.

“The earthquakes went on for hours getting worse and worse, the church bells were ringing so loudly it was like a warning from God,” Erling Snær told The Independent.

“We’ve had a lot of news in this town but I hope this time people are looking into it, and will make changes because it is so hard to leave your home.

“It’s hard to think about tourists coming to look at the crack today. But for now I don’t think they will. It’s all so soon. I still believe that something will erupt.”

Erling Snær has lived in Grindavik his whole life but doesn’t know if he will return (Barney Davis)
Erling Snær has lived in Grindavik his whole life but doesn’t know if he will return (Barney Davis)

'I wanted to go over and see the damage but they wouldn’t let me near’

Sunday 26 November 2023 22:20 , Matt Mathers

A Grindavik resident has told how she tried to have a look at the craters but was blocked by workers.

Margaret Eyjolfsdottir, 55, walked her normally skittish whippet Lady on their normal route and seemed reassured in the setting sun, declaring emphatically: “We are going nowhere, this is our home.

“ I wanted to go over and see the damage but they wouldn’t let me near. I think she [points to Lady] understands that it is all over. She is calm and so am I.”

A picture of normality a dogwalker returns to their route (Barney Davis)
A picture of normality a dogwalker returns to their route (Barney Davis)

‘It will definitely become the number one selfie spot in Iceland’

Sunday 26 November 2023 21:20 , Matt Mathers

The crater in Grindavik will become Iceland’s number one “selfie spot”, a volunteer rescue worker has predicted.

“I think it will definitely become the number one selfie spot in Iceland,” he told The Independent.

“If you put up a fish and chip store right there it will do so well. The English will love it there. It is an amazing thing that nobody was injured.

“Everyone is doing differently, some people are really angry others are really happy their homes aren’t damaged.”

 (Barney Davis)
(Barney Davis)

Decision to move residents back to Grindavik ‘difficult - seismologist

Sunday 26 November 2023 20:20 , Matt Mathers

A seismologist has said the decision on whether to return residents to Grindavik is an incredibly “difficult” one that he would not like to be making himself.

“The decision to move back is going to be a very difficult one and I don’t want to make it,” professor Páll Einarsson told The Independent

“Every day now brings a new situation. The last eruption was 1214 since then none until 2021 which is 800 years of slumber.”

He added: “We may now be at the beginning of an active volcanic period for the next two or three centuries.”

Risk has decreased but not completely disappeared, seismologist says

Sunday 26 November 2023 19:20 , Matt Mathers

The risk of a volcanic eruption threatening Grindavik has subsided but has not completely disappeared, a seismologist has said.

“This dyke looks like it could solidify underground and not make it to the surface and that is the most favourable option for the people living there,” Professor Páll Einarsson, who was brought out of retirement to study the thousands of earthquakes rocking the town, told The Independent.

“But the worst case scenario is the magma-filled crack reaches the surface in the middle of the town between the houses of Grindavík. If that eruption continues for the same time it will be wiped out.

“We have to keep in mind this is not just one dyke that is scaring people right now - it is a new chapter of a long story. We’ve had three eruptions already this story is not going to end with this dyke.”

 (Barney Davis)
(Barney Davis)

People of Grindavik can make something ‘positive’ out of quake

Sunday 26 November 2023 18:20 , Matt Mathers

Grindavik can make something “positive” out of the recent earthquake, Iceland’s tourism department has said, suggesting some of the damage to infrastructure could be turned into a tourist attraction.

“When we have destruction from the eruption in the Westman Islands 50 years ago they kept some of the ruins intact,” Snorri Valsson, Iceland’s spokesperson for tourism, told The Independent.

“So most of the damages were repaired but there were sights in town where you could see the actual destruction, houses half covered under lava and ash. So I can imagine they will keep a couple of sights where you could see the actual crack in the ground if it is feasible. It will become an outdoor example, fascinating to see.”

He added: “It has done some damage but I’m sure the people of Grindavík can bring something positive out of it.

“The people have shown incredible resilience you can see that it has had an effect on them. It’s a tight-knit community that’s going to stick together and get back on their feet again.

“As you can see, travel in there is safe so everyone is welcome.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Grindavik sees uptick in tourists following earthquakes

Sunday 26 November 2023 17:20 , Matt Mathers

Grindavik has seen an uptick in tourists after being hit by an earthquake that caused huge craters, a tourism chief has said.

“Grindavík is the quintessential fishing town that has been Iceland’s backbone throughout the centuries,” Snorri Valsson, Iceland’s spokesperson for tourism, told The Independent. “It has an excellent museum already on the tradition of salted fish making, for example.”

He added: “But I see an increase in tourists coming certainly since the earthquake because the infrastructure will be repaired and there’s a history of the events of recent days.

“I could imagine it could be a focus point of the visitor’s centre for years to come because of these events and the effect it had on town life. For Iceland’s economy, it is extremely important Grindavík gets back to normal it has impacted the decisions of the central bank already.”

Snorri Valsson Iceland’s spokesperson for tourism stands in front of a retirement home split in two by the earthquake (Barney Davis)
Snorri Valsson Iceland’s spokesperson for tourism stands in front of a retirement home split in two by the earthquake (Barney Davis)

Grindavik residents given unrestricted access to return on Thurssday

Sunday 26 November 2023 16:18 , Matt Mathers

Residents of Grindavik were given unrestricted access to return to their homes on Thursday after being evacuated.

Some returned to collect jet-skis, cuddly toys and other valuables, Barney Davis reports from the small fishing town.

Others, however, were apparently not prepared to take any risks despite the decreasing chances of an eruption and stayed away.

Grindavik family taking what they can to safety (Barney Davis)
Grindavik family taking what they can to safety (Barney Davis)