The outbreak can happen at any time

Iceland is on watch in anticipation of a major volcanic eruption.
Earthquakes have decreased in frequency – which is worrying.
– This could mean that magma has very likely found a way up to the surface, says Jakob Vegerfors, a volcano enthusiast in Reykjavik.

Magma is flowing in a 15-kilometer-long fissure 800 meters underground just outside Grindavik, according to Iceland’s Meteorological Institute.

No one knows where or when the outbreak may occur, but preparedness is high – and thousands have been forced to leave their homes.

– There is a rather strange atmosphere here, between the fact that life goes on and that people are currently homeless. They have had to leave their homes and they only had a few minutes to take their pick and pack and knit quickly, says Swedish Daniel van der Blij, who lives in Hverangerdi, near the evacuated area.

Can strike – at any time

Daniel van der Blij works as a guide in Iceland, often in Grindavik. He says that the evacuees have fled to summer cottages and shelters.

– Then people are very good here at opening the doors, at letting people in and helping, he says.

The eruption can strike at any time and has been prompted by scores of earthquakes, this weekend as many as 800 per night. Jakob Vegerfors, Swedish photographer and volcano enthusiast who lives in Reykjavik, tells Nyhetsmorgon that the number since midnight is 500.

– It has calmed down with earthquakes. It doesn’t have to be a positive sign in itself, as it can mean that magma has very likely found a way up to the surface, where it has so little resistance that there won’t be big earthquakes, he explains.

“Very quick jerks”

Jakob Vegerfors describes the situation as still tense. On Sunday, some of the evacuees had to return to Grindavik to pick up belongings and pets left behind.

– But it was a very quick jerk. They had to drive to a nearby area, then they were driven by rescue personnel in large cars, and were given three to five minutes to rush into their homes and pick up what they could, says Jakob Vegerfors.