The Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland, renowned for its geothermal pools, has closed temporarily after a string of earthquakes prompted guests to leave the area.
The closure, lasting until November 30th, is due to concerns about a possible volcanic eruption in the region.
A surge in concerning earthquakes, starting in late October, led 40 guests to depart from the spa earlier this month. Following this, nearly 4,000 individuals from Grindavik were evacuated last weekend due to road cracks appearing. Grindavik, located 34 miles from Reykjavík and housing the Blue Lagoon, faced this evacuation.
The spa conveyed through its website that the likelihood of a volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula has notably risen, with uncertainty about the timing or location of such an event. Citing concerns for both guests and employees, they made a proactive choice to temporarily shut down various facilities on November 9th, affecting operations at Blue Lagoon, Silica Hotel, Retreat Spa, Retreat Hotel, Lava, and Moss Restaurant. This decision aimed to prioritize safety and ensure the well-being of everyone involved amidst ongoing disruptions.
Seismic activity started north of Grindavik, an area housing 2,000-year-old craters, as explained by geology professor Pall Einarrson on state broadcaster RUV. He mentioned a spreading magma corridor approximately 10 kilometers long in that region.
Frequent Earthquakes in Blue Lagoon
Since October, the Icelandic Met Office (IMO) has recorded over 23,000 tremors, including a significant spike of 1,400 on November 2nd alone, as reported by BBC. The largest earthquake, measuring 5.0 in magnitude, struck the Fagradalsfjall volcanic area at midnight, marking the highest point in the seismic activity.
Subsequently, seven earthquakes of magnitude 4 or higher occurred, including one at 12:13 am east of Sýrlingafell, another at 2:56 am southwest of Þorbjörn, and one at 6:52 am east of Sýrlingafell. The IMO also noted magma accumulation northwest of Thorbjorn Mountain, near the renowned turquoise hot springs.
The Blue Lagoon Spa, along with several other businesses in the vicinity, closed temporarily due to authorities’ worries that magma might surface, prompting concerns about potential volcanic activity in the area.
Blue Lagoon manager Helga Árnadóttir mentioned that despite knowing the earthquakes posed no immediate danger, they chose to respond by temporarily closing. She clarified that although some guests left, it was only one group with staff assistance, and most visitors remained calm and well-informed. Árnadóttir emphasized the staff’s exceptional support and the guests’ appreciation. Regarding financial concerns, she highlighted that prioritizing safety for both staff and guests took precedence over monetary considerations for the luxury hotel.
Iceland boasts nearly 30 active volcanic sites and is among the most seismically active regions globally. Litli-Hrutur, also known as Little Ram, erupted in the Fagradalsfjall area in July, earning the title of the “world’s newest baby volcano.”