December 5, 2023

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1,400 earthquakes in 24 hours: The world-famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland is closed as a precaution |  outside

1,400 earthquakes in 24 hours: The world-famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland is closed as a precaution | outside

It’s one of Iceland’s most famous attractions: world-famous and beautifully charming Blue lakeWhere tourists can enjoy the charming white and blue waters and the wonderful warm waters. But not now, because Iceland’s most famous water source will be closed for at least a week due to intense seismic activity near the site. There is talk of an ongoing series of earthquakes and the possibility of an imminent volcanic eruption.

One of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spring on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 40 kilometers southwest of Reykjavik and just 20 minutes from Keflavik International Airport. A new series of earthquakes began in the peninsula at the end of October, with thousands of earthquakes. Such swarms of earthquakes have already heralded volcanic eruptions three times since 2020. The Blue Lagoon was temporarily closed Thursday due to the rumbling and will remain closed for the time being, at least until next Thursday.

Earthquake after earthquake

According to Icelandic authorities, about 1,400 earthquakes were measured on the peninsula in the 24 hours leading up to Thursday afternoon, followed by 800 tremors in the first 14 hours of Friday. Of the earthquakes that occurred on Thursday, seven had a magnitude of 4.0 or greater. In the past 24 hours, 1,200 earthquakes were measured, most of them in the same area and at the same depth. Tremors could be felt as far away as Reykjavik.

Swimmers enjoying the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, file photo. © AP

Many guests have already fled

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Many frightened guests are said to have fled the resort, which has two hotels, on their own before the Blue Lagoon closed. Icelandic news website Víkurfréttir wrote that about 40 guests left Thursday evening after rocks fell on the path leading to the hotel lobby.

The strongest earthquake to date was also recorded on Thursday night: a 4.8 magnitude earthquake west of Örbjörn, a mountain located about 1.5 kilometers south of the Blue Lagoon. “This was the strongest earthquake since seismic activity began on October 25,” the Icelandic Meteorological Authority said.

The soil swells

More than 20,000 earthquakes have been recorded since the end of October. The agency warned of a “complex process of magma movements” on the Reykjanes Peninsula. She added that in addition to the numerous tremors, there are signs that the Earth is swelling, perhaps under the pressure of magma. This may lead to a volcanic eruption. In December 2019, seismic activity returned to Reykjanes for the first time, after a break of about 800 years.

the blue Lake.
the blue Lake. © Agence France-Presse

Imminent eruption?

“As magma continues to accumulate, seismic activity can be expected as magma seepage increases pressures in the area,” the authorities explained. The situation will be closely monitored in the coming days. The fact that stronger tremors were recorded than at the beginning does not necessarily mean that an explosion is imminent. According to experts, there are no indications that the magma is moving into the shallow layers of the earth.

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It is said that the closure of the Blue Lagoon should be seen as a precautionary measure. “The main reason for this is our unwavering commitment to safety and well-being,” a statement on the wellness destination’s website said.

Iceland is one of the most geographically active regions in the world. The aviation warning level was raised from green to yellow, but air traffic was not disrupted.

Swimmers enjoying the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, file photo.
Swimmers enjoying the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, file photo. © LightRocket via Getty Images