Thousands of small tremors have rocked a region in southwest Iceland, roughly an hour's drive from the capital Reykjavík, last week, alarming residents.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office announced today that there was a "significant likelihood" of a volcanic eruption, and 4,000 residents of the nearby town of Grindavik were evacuated over fears molten rock could rise to the surface. Officials are also worried a nearby geothermal power station could be hit.
And now new aerial footage is now circulating on social media, showing a massive crack splitting Grindavik asunder and sending ominous steam into the air. Some of these fissures have moved buildings and roads, alarming officials.
In short, it's an incredibly dangerous situation, and scientists have no way of telling what will happen next with any degree of certainty.
"We believe that this intrusion is literally hovering, sitting in equilibrium now just below the earth's surface," Matthew James Roberts, director of the service and research division at the meteorological office, told Reuters.
"We have this tremendous uncertainty now," he added. "Will there be an eruption and if so, what sort of damage will occur?"
The area is nestled between the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates, making Iceland an incredibly seismically active place.
A powerful volcanic eruption could plunge the entire country into chaos. In 2010, an eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano caused major air travel disruptions, leading to more than 100,000 canceled flights, per Euronews.
Fortunately, the residents of Grindavik are safe — but it's nonetheless a distressing situation.
"It's not only the people in Grindavik who are shocked about this situation it's the whole of Iceland," one resident told Reuters.
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