The residents recounted being swept from their houses in the wee hours of Saturday amid tremors that fractured roadways and caused structural damage to the buildings.
As tens of thousands of tremors were felt in the recent weeks, authorities are concerned that molten rock might rise to the surface of the ground and strike a geothermal power plant and a coastal town.
“We have this tremendous uncertainty now; will there be an eruption and if so, what sort of damage will occur,” said Matthew James Roberts, director of the service and research division at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, reported Reuters.
Describing constant tremors since 1999, 56-year-old Hans Vera said, “You would never be steady, it was always shaking, so there was no way to get sleep”.
A view of cracks, emerged on a road due to volcanic activity, near Grindavik, Iceland November 13, 2023. (Image credit: Reuters)
As per a rescue official, only about 50 to 70 individuals were sleeping at evacuation centers, while the remaining 3,800 residents of the town had managed to find lodging with friends or relatives.
On Sunday, some evacuees were allowed to return to the town and retrieve personal items including documents, medications, and pets; however, they were not permitted to drive themselves.
Located southwest of the capital, the Reykjanes peninsula is a seismically and volcanically active area.
In March of 2021, the Fagradalsfjall volcanic system in the area saw the magnificent eruption of lava fountains from a 500–750 meter long fissure in the ground.
Thousands of Icelanders and visitors visited the area during the six months of ongoing volcanic activity in that year.
The same region saw a three-week-long eruption in August 2022 and another in July of this year.