Awakening volcanic region in Iceland ‘could cause disruption for centuries’

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Reykjanes peninsula’s last active period started in 10th century and lasted 300 years

Volcanic activity is escalating in a region of Iceland that has not erupted for 800 years, with scientists warning it could cause disruption for centuries to come. Since 21 January, the Reykjanes peninsula south-west of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, has experienced more than 8,000 earthquakes and about 10cm of land uplift due to magma intrusions underground. “It seems that after being relatively inactive for many centuries, this region is waking up,” said Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist at Lancaster University. Situated close to the town of Grindavík and the popular Blue Lagoon tourist attraction, and only nine miles (15km) from Iceland’s international airport, the region last erupted about 800 years ago (though there have been more recent eruptions offshore). Geological evidence shows the area is fed by five volcanic systems, which seem to come to life in a coordinated way roughly every 1,000 years.


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