Iceland's famed Blue Lagoon evacuates guests as fears of volcanic eruption continue

Residents of the evacuated seaside town of Grindavík in Iceland continue to hold their breath in anticipation of a possible volcanic eruption in the area after officials said magma has once again accumulated underground.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) released a new hazard risk assessment map, which showed that the probability of an eruption in or around Grindavík has decreased, but officials warned that there is still a considerable risk of a new volcanic eruption in the area in the coming days.

This latest development comes one day after the IMO had warned that a fissure eruption was likely due to an intense swarm of earthquakes that began to shake the region.

The IMO said the earthquake activity began around 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EST) Saturday due to magma intrusion in the area, and thus warned people that a new eruption was likely.

But about two hours later, the IMO said earthquake activity began to wane significantly and then ceased around 8 p.m. local time (3 p.m. EST).


Molten lava is seen overflowing the road leading to the famous tourist destination "Blue Lagoon" near Grindavik, western Iceland on February 8, 2023. (Photo by KRISTINN MAGNUSSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The IMO stressed, however, that the decrease in seismic activity didn’t necessarily mean the threat of a volcanic eruption was over.

"Data indicates that yesterday’s magma intrusion has stopped by Mt. Hagafell," the IMO said in a translated update on its website. "The likelihood of magma ascending in relation to this magma intrusion has decreased, but the area continues to be closely monitored for this possibility."

If the volcano were to erupt again, the IMO said it could occur with as little as a 30-minute warning.


Iceland’s Blue Lagoon evacuated again

Iceland’s popular tourist destination Blue Lagoon was forced to evacuate on Saturday when the seismic activity began to ramp up and fears of an imminent eruption quickly grew.

Blue Lagoon was closed and evacuated several times over the past few months after earthquakes and volcanic eruptions sent lava close to the area.

"Due to increased seismic activity in a known area, a few kilometers away from Blue Lagoon, and our unwavering commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our valued guests and staff, we initiated an evacuation of our premises (Saturday)," Blue Lagoon said in a statement on its website.

The statement went on to say that Blue Lagoon would remain closed through Sunday, at which time the situation would be reassessed.


If an eruption were to occur, it would be the fourth eruption since the end of 2023, with the first occurring on Dec. 18, the second on Jan. 14 and the third on Feb. 8.

Grindavík residents have been evacuated several times since the activity started late last year. 

No injuries have been reported from any of the eruptions, but lava flows destroyed some homes during the eruption on Jan. 14.

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