Iceland may be on the cusp of another volcanic eruption, and you can keep an eye on the situation through these live feeds.
Icelandic meteorologists are concerned that an eruption near the fishing town of Grindavik is imminent. The Reykjanes peninsula of southwestern Iceland has experienced more than 10,000 earthquakes, with magnitudes of 2.7 to 4.5, since October 24. The tremors, plus satellite data that shows ongoing land deformation, are a sign that magma might be rising towards the surface.
Whether it’s to stay informed about the potential for a volcanic eruption, or to admire the Icelandic landscapes, here are several livestreams that viewers can watch.
But first, a little background.
What’s happening in Iceland?
Iceland is no stranger to volcanic activity. But the developments over the last three weeks are particularly compelling.
Seismic data suggests there is magma just about four to five kilometers below the surface near Þorbjörn mountain. “Models show that the extent of the magma tunnel is significant and magma is approaching the surface,” according to an update that the Icelandic Meteorological Office published Saturday.
“It can be concluded that there is a significant chance that magma will manage to break its way to the surface. There is also an increased chance that magma can emerge on the ocean floor,” officials added.
In the last week, seismic activity had a relative slowdown. But what that means is still up for interpretation. The broadcasters on Tuesday’s episode of the Icelandic news outlet RÚV English Radio, which was taped around 1:00 pm local time, said it’s hard to tell what’s causing the slowdown. It might be a sign that there won’t be an eruption after all, or that the system is gearing up for one in the coming days.
Roads entering Grindavik are now closed, and its nearly 4,000 inhabitants have evacuated.
On Tuesday, the Icelandic Meteorological Office reported that sensors had detected increased levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2). The source of the elevated levels of the gas is uncertain, SÚV reports, but it could be a sign that magma is very high in the Earth’s crust.
“SO2 is not released from magma until very close to the surface. It just means the top kilometer,” Benedikt Ófeigsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told SÚV. “It’s not possible to tell the depth directly, but it [the magma] must be very shallow for us to see SO2,” Ófeigsson added.
How to stay updated
Live From Iceland shows webcam livestreams from around the country. The Svartsengi channel shows a feed from Þorbjörn mountain.
Two RÚV webstreams are currently operating from the peninsula, and the news agency has plans to add more cameras.