Sunday, March 3, 2024

Iceland Wild Side and the “Monster” Below

I remember my first quake in Iceland wild. I bolted for the door frame – you know, the drill for safety? I was in this attic apartment in Reykjavík, one of those cool bárujárn houses. I couldn’t shake off the thought that the whole place might just collapse.

The shaking stopped real quick, but man, my knees kept shaking, and my heart was racing for ages.

Volcano Drama

Then came the volcano spectacle – Fimmvörðuháls in March 2010, the warm-up act for the Eyjafjallajökull eruption a month later. Picture this: me suited up like an astronaut, riding a snowmobile over Sólheimajökull glacier at sunset. The sight? Unreal. Liquid magma shooting up, lava falling down – a total sensory overload. But you know what stuck? The sound, the Earth’s heartbeat.

Growing up near Toronto, quakes and volcanoes were just TV stuff. Iceland’s explosive nature blew my mind.

Iceland: Beautiful Yet Risky

Iceland’s stunning, no doubt. But it demands respect. It’s not just about preserving it; it’s about staying safe.

Grindavík, this small town near Reykjavík, had to bail due to potential volcanic action. They’re crashing at friends’ places, emergency shelters, you name it. Most of the country’s chill, but parts of the Reykjanes peninsula had to clear out ’cause the big eruption’s on the cards, as per the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Living with the Volcano Vibes

People in Grindavík are used to this game. When quakes kicked off nearby, they hung tight till things got serious.

Since 2019, the Reykjanes peninsula’s been on a volcano spree. Eruptions in 2021, 2022, and 2023, kinda touristy spots though, away from the action and safe enough for those up for a hike.

Even in Reykjavík, we felt the quakes. In my concrete pad, I could tell when the shock was about to hit.

But this recent quake spree since October 25? Grindavík folks felt it differently. The center moved under their town, like having a “monster under your feet,” as one local put it. On November 10, after tons of quakes, they had to evacuate.

Facing Nature’s Fury

Thankfully, everyone’s safe. The shakes have slowed, but it’s a wake-up call about Iceland’s wild side and how it affects us humans.

Last time a whole town bailed was the ’73 eruption in the Westman Islands. Now, we’re all in limbo, wondering if Grindavík will ever be home again, or if folks will even wanna go back.

Thinking about my first volcano, I just hope these natural wonders won’t be remembered for wrecking homes.