Iceland residents living near volcano fear being frozen in time like Pompeii

Icelandic volcano erupts in molten inferno

Residents living under Iceland’s potentially erupting volcano have said they fear being “frozen in time like Pompeii.”

At least 4,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the fishing town of Grindavik in the Reykjanes Peninsula was split in two by seismic activity last week.

More than 800 earthquakes and thousands of tremors have been recorded in the area since the evacuation last Friday.

A State of Emergency has now been declared as many fear the possible volcanic eruption, which has already fissured roads, shut down tourist attractions, and led the government to evacuate towns in the potential path of an eruption.

A giant bulldozer has arrived in Iceland to build a massive 3.5 mile-ditch and earth mounds to stop the lava if it comes.

Workers are rapidly trying to build a wall around the Svartsengi power plant, while police are setting up checkpoints around the dangerous “red zone,” where there is a reported ominous smell of sulphur dioxide.

The gas proves that magma is close to the surface, with some experts claiming the lava has the potential to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools.

While residents in the “red zone” were allowed inside their homes briefly this week to collect their pets and belongings, officers stopped them from entering after raised levels of volcanic gas were detected in the town.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office warned in a statement: “Due to the release of tension, it is likely that the magma will have an easy way to the surface.”

Kristjan Rargrarssan, a search and rescue worker in Iceland, said to The Mirror: “It is the red zone, the area with the most earthquakes, the most cracks and the most volcanic activity.”

British expat Anne Sigurdsson, 66, moved to Iceland from Carlisle seven years ago with her husband, Siggi.

She said: “People are apprehensive and everyone feels so much for those evacuated as we know it could so easily be us too.

“This island could be ripped apart. We fear Grindavik could end up frozen in time like Pompeii. On Friday afternoon, it was like shake, rattle, and roll here.

“You hear it before you feel it, it’s like thunder in the ground. Everything was shaking and the house was creaking. It was like being inside one of those snow globes and being shaken around.”

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Sigurdsson said they are concerned about the volcano damaging infrastructure on the peninsula.

She said: “If it goes where they say it is going to, the lava could go to the power plant and the water plant. Already house prices have taken a hit so many people could end up with nothing.

“Nobody is going to want to live here.”

The nearby international airport at Keflavik has also been hit by earthquakes, with one worker telling The Mirror: “We want it to hurry up and erupt so we can get some sleep.”

Another resident said a crack has appeared in the town that runs for several meters, with fishing headquarters completely ruined by the tremors.

Margret Benediktsdottir, 64, who helps run family fishery businesses in the town, said: “It is devastating and such a beautiful place to live in and bring up your children.

“I’ve lived here for 44 years and it’s the first time I’ve experienced anything like this. Now there is a big question mark over us all.”

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