EARTHQUAKE! Everybody out of the lagoon!
Tourists love to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Grindavik, Iceland. But not during an earthquake. Especially not when an earthquake can lead to a volcanic eruption. Magma makes hot springs warm. But it can also cause big trouble.
A quake hit Iceland on November 9. It shook spa hotel guests awake around 1 o’clock a.m. They rushed to leave their hotels.
Bjarni Stefansson is a local taxi driver. When he arrived at the Retreat Hotel, he found chaos. Lava rocks had fallen on the road. The parking lot was jammed with 20 to 30 cabs.
“There was a panic situation,” Mr. Stefansson says. “People thought a volcanic eruption was about to happen.”
Hundreds of small earthquakes shook the area every day for more than two weeks. Why? Volcanic magma builds up three miles underground. Will its activity get closer to the surface? Scientists watch closely for signs.
Seismic activity moves near a town called Grindavik. Magma reaches under the community. About 3,400 people live there. Where will the magma reach the surface? Scientists can’t be sure. So officials decided to evacuate everyone on Saturday.
Iceland sits above a volcanic hotspot in the North Atlantic Ocean. It faces a volcanic eruption around every four to five years. Its last big eruption happened in 2010.
Retired beautician Hildur Gunnarsdóttir says she spent Wednesday night cruising in her car. She wanted to “get a break from feeling the earthquakes.” She tracks seismic activity on a phone app.
“I turned off notifications days ago,” she says. “The phone was vibrating constantly.”
Pray for the safety of Icelanders this week.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. — Psalm 4:8