Residents in the town of Grindavik, Iceland, have expressed concerns that their homes could be "frozen in time" like the ancient city of Pompeii if a nearby volcano erupts and covers the area in lava. The town has already experienced heavy earthquakes, leaving many homes with significant damage such as cracks zigzagging through the walls.
British expat Anne Sigurdsson, who has been living in Grindavik for seven years, compared the experience of the earthquakes to being inside a shaken snow globe. She explained that the fear among residents is centered around the possibility of being trapped in their homes, much like the ill-fated citizens of Pompeii.
Meanwhile, officials in the town are working to restore electricity, which was cut off in many parts of Grindavik due to the volcanic activity and resulting earthquakes. Energy company HS Veitna has identified a broken cable as the main cause of the power outage and hopes to have services restored later in the day. However, the town's heating supplies and electricity systems have suffered severe damage.
The United Kingdom's Foreign Office has also issued travel advice for British nationals planning to visit Iceland, urging them to stay away from the affected area due to increased volcanic activity and frequent earthquakes. The office emphasized the possibility of a volcanic eruption occurring and advised monitoring local media for updates.
To mitigate the potential impact of a volcanic eruption, Iceland has deployed its biggest bulldozer, a 104-ton Caterpillar D11, to dig three-mile-long trenches near the Svartsengi geothermal power plant. These trenches are intended to divert and contain lava flows from reaching key buildings and infrastructure.
As residents cautiously return to the red zone of Grindavik under authorities' permission, geology experts are assessing the risks. Professor Magnús Tuma Guðmundsson from the University of Iceland explained that lava flows into Grindavik would depend on the location of the fissure and its exposure to the town.
While the probability of an eruption remains high, the potential impact is not expected to be as widespread as the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010. Unlike the previous eruption that disrupted air travel across Europe, the current volcanic threat is considered a different situation and is unlikely to generate the same level of ash and disruption. Nonetheless, concerns persist about the safety of homes and infrastructure in the area.