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Iceland has declared a state of emergency as it awaits the eruption of a volcano.

This comes as 3,000 residents were asked to evacuate the town of Grindavik located in the country’s southwestern peninsula.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) announced on Sunday that changes to the situation were reported. It indicated that the magma could be moving closer to the surface.

On Monday the IMO reported that “the greatest area of magma upwelling” is located in an area only 3.5 kilometres from Grindavik.

On Tuesday, local police closed the queue for cars to enter the town, saying that “circumstances will be reevaluated tomorrow”.

Only six kilometres from Grindavik lies a geothermal power plant. Local authorities have started building a protective trench around the plant to prevent lava reaching the power plant.

CNN reports the Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant provides electricity and geothermal water to heat houses to a population of 30,000 in the Reykjanes peninsula.

At this stage, scientists are unsure just how big the eruption could be although most believe that the town of Grindavik could be wiped out in the next few days.

Residents of the town were able to go back to their houses for a day to get essential items but were ordered to evacuate again soon after.

Image credit: Bloomberg

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