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Grindavík Town evacuated - eruption considered likely on the Reykjanes peninsula

The National Police Commissioner of Iceland has raised the Civil Protection Service Level from Alert to Ermergency on November 10th in response to increasing seismic activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula. This is the highest level of Civil Protection Service Levels, indicating an event which has already begun and could lead, or already has led to, harm to people, communities, properties or the environment. At this stage, immediate measure are taken to ensure security, save lives and prevent casualties, damage and or loss.

Authorities have declared a Civil Protection Service Level of Emergency and issued evacuation orders for the town of Grindavík. Scientists at the Icelandic Meteorological Office have been observing increased seismic activity in Reykjanes Peninsula that started on October 24th and all signs now point to an imminent eruption.

GPS data shows an uplift of the landmass in the area by a few centimeters in the last few days, indicating a magma intrusion underneath the surface in the vicinity of Þorbjörn Mountain. Nearby is the town Grindavík (pop. 3,500), Svartsengi Power Plant, and the popular tourist destination Blue Lagoon, which has been temporarily closed until November 16 while this situation is being further assessed.

Iceland is situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates diverge, making it one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Regular seismic events are a characteristic feature of Icelandic geology, ranging from minor tremors to significant earthquakes. Seismic activity in Iceland is often due to magma movement beneath the earth's crust. It may sometimes result in magma seeking the easiest path to the surface and becoming a volcanic eruption.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office, The National Police Commissioner, The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, and a team of scientists from the University of Iceland are closely monitoring the situation and constantly analyzing developments. There is no way of accurately predicting whether, where, or when this could result in a volcanic eruption or the possible size of such an eruption, but the situation is being closely monitored and constantly evaluated based on the best scientific data available. Updated evacuation plans are in place for populated areas and businesses in the area.

People in the area are encouraged to stay alert and follow news bulletins. The area is closed. Visiting tourists in the area can expect to be alerted via SMS from The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, which will reach all phones in contact with cell towers in the geographical area. Police and search and rescue teams will also sweep areas and enforce evacuations.

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