Iceland: State of Emergency Declared After Volcanic Eruption

  • A state of emergency was declared in Iceland on Thursday after flowing lava from the latest volcanic eruption damaged pipes, leaving as many as 20K people without hot water in the southern Reykjanes Peninsula region. BBC News (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • It was the third eruption of its kind since December, and reportedly spewed lava as high as 80 meters (260 ft) from a 2-mile (3 km) crack. Reuters (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • While the lava dissipated by Friday, the pipe damage came as Iceland underwent subfreezing temperatures, reaching as low 17°F (-8°C) in some regions. A number of schools and public institutions closed Friday due to the lack of heating. Reuters (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • Meanwhile — potentially causing more disruption — Rikke Pedersen, of the Nordic Volcanological Center, said that the lava was about 0.6 miles (1km) from the Svartsengi geothermal plant. She said officials are "really doing all they can to prevent lava reaching the power plant." Guardian (LR: 2 CP: 5)
  • The lava is not presently believed to be a danger to life. The closest town of Grindavik, which had a population of roughly 4K, was evacuated prior to a previous eruption on Dec. 18. Associated Press (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • Given this was now the sixth eruption since 2021, scientists said this indicated that the Reykjanes Peninsula was entering into a new volcanic era. The last time it did so was 800 years ago and volcanic eruptions continued for decades. BBC News (LR: 3 CP: 5)

Narrative A:

  • These latest eruptions are fully in line with the science and the related modeling, which thankfully foresaw these events coming. We expect to see a series of small, relatively short-lived eruptions down the line, and these incidents could go on for decades if not centuries.
    BBC NEWS (LR: 3 CP: 5)

Narrative B:

  • While Iceland is well versed in dealing with volcanic eruptions, many are still in shock that this geologic system appears to have come to life again. The people of Grindavik are slowly coming to terms with the prospect that they may never be able to live in their homes again.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS (LR: 3 CP: 5)

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 50% chance Iceland will be part of the EU in 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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