Shocking drone footage shows a huge crack literally splitting apart an Icelandic town, as the country warns of a potential major volcanic eruption.
In alarming clips shared on social media, large cracks are seen in the ground in the town of Grindavik, Iceland — which is situated about 40 miles from the capital city of Reykjavik.
The gaping chasms in the ground are caused by a tunnel of magma pushing its way up toward the Earth’s surface. Steam can be seen rising from large cracks in roads and sidewalks in the town of Grindavik.
The enormous cracks have formed amid hundreds of earthquakes reported in the region over the past few days.
Icelandic authorities fear that the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula is threatening to erupt. The 3,800 residents in the fishing town of Grindavik have been forced to evacuate.
On its website on Tuesday, the Icelandic Met Office (IMO) said that about 700 earthquakes have been reported in the region since midnight.
The Reykjanes peninsula is a volcanic and seismic hot spot in Iceland. The IMO says that the “likelihood of a volcanic eruption is high” and that it could happen at any moment in the coming days.
According to CBS News, Matthew James Roberts, the director of the Service and Research Division at the IMO, says that the situation, which “took a sudden turn” on Friday, “is worrying.”
That intrusion, which he described as a “thin sliver of magma” that started to make its way to the surface beneath the town of Grindavik, is more than nine miles long.
“The seismic activity is close to a populated area. It’s close to infrastructure,” he says, including the “Blue Lagoon, which is a geothermal spa in southwestern Iceland a short distance from the international airport and a popular tourist destination.
The magma building up under the Earth’s surface in the area is causing the ground “to deform, effectively balloon, as the pressure of the magma and the volume of the magma increases,” Roberts explains.
Inhabitants of Grindavik described being evacuated from their homes in the early hours of Saturday as the ground shook, roads cracked, and buildings suffered structural damage.
Some evacuees were briefly allowed back into the town on Sunday to collect belongings such as documents, medicines, or pets, but were not allowed to drive themselves.
Image credits: Feature photo via Road Administration of Iceland/Facebook.