Fissures open up on the streets of an Iceland fishing town near a volcano that may soon erupt

Grindavik is on the country’s southwestern Reykjanes peninsula.


Fishing was the mainstay of Grindavik, but now it’s fissures in its road and cracks in the walls of its buildings that is putting it on the map.

Homes belonging to the town’s 4,000 inhabitants were evacuated on Saturday, with scientists predicting the Fagradalsfjall volcano could erupt at any moment.

On Monday residents were allowed back into their houses for just five minutes to retrieve their most valued possessions including sheep and other livestock.

Iceland, which has 33 active volcanic systems, has declared a state of emergency, with shelters and help centres opened in several nearby towns.

“We have a fissure that’s about 15 kilometres long, and anywhere on that fissure we can see that an eruption could happen,” Vidir Reynisson, said the head of Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Management agency.

Three eruptions have taken place near Fagradalsfjall, in March 2021, August 2022 and July 2023 — all far from any infrastructure or populated areas.