A top emergency management official in Iceland revealed to Fox News on Monday that authorities there could get as little as “30 minutes notice” before a potential volcanic eruption in the southwestern part of the country.
Vídir Reynisson, the head of the Civil Protection and Emergency Management agency, made the comment as the Icelandic Meteorological Office continues to report hundreds of small earthquakes surrounding the town of Grindavik, which could remain evacuated for months.
“The challenge that we have is that we will not see any strong evidence that the magma is coming up, we will see some small earthquakes and we can see how they will probably form in one place rather than another,” Reynisson told Fox News’ national correspondent Bryan Llenas. “We will maybe get 30 minutes notice before the eruption starts. That is what we are working with.”
“All the big signs are already there, so we are looking for the small signs, the signs that say that even though we are monitoring very closely, it could be 30 minutes or less from now on until the eruption starts, but that could go on for days or weeks,” he added.
ICELAND TOWN MAY BE EVACUATED FOR MONTHS AS VOLCANIC RUMBLING CONTINUES
The Icelandic Meteorological Office said Monday that since midnight, “over 700 earthquakes have been detected in the region of the magma intrusion.”
The most impactful of those was a 2.7-magnitude tremor in the mountainous area of Hagafell, which is just north of Grindavik, according to the office.
“In recent days, between 1,500 and 1,800 daily earthquakes have been measured in the region, with the largest event registering magnitude 3.0 last Friday,” they continued.
ICELAND OFFICIALS REVEAL ‘MOST LIKELY’ SITE OF POSSIBLE VOLCANIC ERUPTION
“Our monitoring and hazard assessment preparations are still based on the assumption that the situation could change suddenly with little warning,” the office added.
Authorities are warning residents of Grindavik that it may be months before they are able to return to their homes.
Grindavik, which was evacuated by the Icelandic government last week after seismic activity and air content analysis pointed to possible eruptions, has been shut down to traffic for the foreseeable future.
Residents have only been given short windows of time to gather their belongings and flee the town, which is believed to now sit on a corridor of magma flowing under the area.
Fox News’ Bryan Llenas and Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report.
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