Iceland volcano LIVE: Three-mile trenches to be dug as lava defences

Iceland volcano LIVE: Country’s biggest bulldozer is dispatched to dig three-mile long trenches as part of lava defences as 400 more earthquakes hit overnight

Why is Iceland so volcanically active?

Residents entering the 'red zone' of Grindavik

Grindavik facing electricity outages

Map shows risk posed to Grindavik if small or medium fissure eruption happens in the area

Q&A: How much damage could a volcanic eruption cause in Iceland?

Where has been affected?

Thousands of earthquakes have been caused by a massive build-up of magma in a nine-mile fissure.

The fissure is around 3.5 kilometres northwest of Grindavik, a town of 4,000 people on the Reykjanes peninsula which has been evacuated.

How likely is an eruption?

The Icelandic Met Office said on Wednesday that the ‘probability of an eruption is still considered high’.

How bad could it be?

Vidir Reynisson, head of Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Management agency, said experts are ‘really concerned about all the houses and the infrastructure in the area’.

John Smellie, a volcanologist at the UK’s Leicester University, said lava flows ‘relatively slowly, and people can generally at least drive away or run away from it.’

He said this means that deaths are unlikely.

The eruption could be more violent if it blows through ice or water.

If it occurs in the southern tip of the fissure, which is underwater, it could cause ash clouds that would affect flights at Iceland’s international airport.

Different to 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption?

Any eruption is not expected to have anywhere near as much impact as the one from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010.

That eruption shot huge amounts of ash into the atmosphere, forcing the cancellation of some 100,000 flights and leaving more than 10 million travellers stranded.

It exploded through 200 metres of ice, making it ‘highly violent’, Smellie said.

The interaction with the water created more fine ash particles that would then drift across Europe.

The latest eruption threat is ‘completely different situation’ Smellie said.

Marc Reichow, a geochemist at Leicester, said it is ‘unlikely to happen this time as there is no substantial amount of ice in the area where an eruption is expected to occur’.

Iceland's biggest bulldozer dispatched to dig three-mile long trenches as part of lava defences near geothermal powerplant

PICTURED: Aerial views of Grindavik show a huge chasms and splits running through the coastal town

VIDEO: Steam rises from huge fissure which has split apart Grindavik road, destroying pipes

Iceland's sinking town: Subsidence that has seen buildings split in half and roads collapse is going to get WORSE and lava could flow from fissures for weeks, local experts warn

An Icelandic town is continuing to sink with gaping chasms tearing apart buildings and roads, as magma gathers just a few hundred metres beneath the surface amid the prospect of a volcanic eruption.

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Key updates this morning as Iceland continues to face a volcanic eruption


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