Iceland's Blue Lagoon Closes Following Major Earthquake, Fear of Volcano Eruption

The tourist attraction will remain closed for the next week.

<p>Sergio Pitamitz/Getty Images</p>

Sergio Pitamitz/Getty Images

The Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland's most iconic tourist destinations, is officially closed for the next seven days due to an increase in seismic activity following a series of earthquakes.

The seismic activity has lead to agma flowing toward the earth's surface around the Reykjanes peninsula, home to the lagoon, the nation's international airport, and the Svartsengi Power Plant, which supplies power to much of the area. In the last 24 hours, the area surrounding the lagoon experienced hundreds of earthquakes including one measuring in at 5 on the Richter scale, according to the Iceland Monitor.

The lagoon's hotel accommodations, The Retreat and Silica Hotel, will be closed from Thursday through Nov. 16.

"Blue Lagoon has proactively chosen to temporarily suspend operations for one week, despite the authorities not raising the current level of uncertainty during this period of seismic activity," the lagoon's website reads. "The primary reason for taking these precautionary measures is our unwavering commitment to safety and wellbeing. We aim to mitigate any disruption to our guests' experiences and alleviate the sustained pressure on our employees. During this time, Blue Lagoon will carefully monitor the seismic developments and reassess the situation as necessary."

Additionally, a spokesperson for the Blue Lagoon confirmed it's closure toTravel + Leisure via email.

"We have contacted all guests with a confirmed reservation through Nov. 15," the spokesperson shared. "A full refund will be issued for all affected bookings during the closing period. We are also assisting our guests as much as we can to find alternative accommodations."

To ensure the safety of both visitors and locals, Iceland's Civil Defenses created an evacuation plan, according to the Iceland Monitor, which allows people to get out of the path of danger as quickly as possible. As Þorvaldur Þórðarson, a professor of volcanology and rock science at the University of Iceland, shared with the outlet, time could truly be of the essence if things go wrong quickly.

"If there's an eruption in these places, it's a rather difficult situation, and we can expect a relatively high productivity at the beginning of an eruption. Then maybe a so-called felsic lava field would form," Þorvaldsson explained to the Iceland Monitor. "It can flood very quickly. You're most worried about the beginning of the eruption."

Þorvaldsson added that while this is only "one scenario," it's important to think in worst-case terms.

"... We can get a scenario that gives us very little time to react, and I encourage people to keep that in mind and take measures accordingly," Þórðarson said. "Don't think about it as a matter of days, but think about it as a matter of hours."

The Icelandic Civil Protection Agency, told the BBC that the community around the eruption zone would have "a day and a half" notice to evacuate and stressed to the news outlet that, if there is an eruption, it will not compare to the 2010 eruption, which shut down the airspace above Iceland for several days.

For now, the earthquakes and potential danger appear to be isolated to just the peninsula. There are no travel restrictions in place, and tour operators are functioning as normal. If you have travel plans to Iceland over the next several days, please check in with your accommodation and any excursions to ensure things are running smoothly.

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