Icelandic authorities are preparing to shield a geothermal plant relied upon by crypto miners amid fears that recent earthquakes in the region could soon be followed by a volcanic eruption.
Quakes in the southwestern region of Reykjanes began on October 26 and continued to escalate during November. Despite the tremors subsiding, the town of Grindavik has been evacuated with scientists claiming that an eruption from the Fagradalsfjall volcano is imminent.
The volcano is located three kilometers from the Svartsengi geothermal plant which, as reported by Reuters, is currently being fortified with defensive walls designed to protect it from potential lava flows.
According to Iceland’s justice minister, enough resources to fill 20,000 trucks are being moved to the plant to help create the defensive barrier.
Plant powering crypto miners in lava zone
Despite its location in the earthquake zone and proximity to the volcano, Bit Digital claims that it has yet to be affected by either and that it has contingency plans in place to deal with any potential disruption.
“The lava channel is far enough away from the data center that no earthquakes have been felt in that location,” head of investor relations Cameron Schnier told Protos.
He added that the firm has made “arrangements with another power station” in case the plant is affected by any eruption. “If power does go out, downtime will likely be a few hours,” he said.
In 2018, a development manager for Hitaveita Sudurnesja (HS Orka), the plant’s owner, expressed shock at the increased demand in the region from crypto miners. Reports claim the bitcoin mining industry in Iceland consumes around 120 MW as “the most bitcoin-mining-dense country on the planet.”
A spokesperson for HS Orka told Reuters that the Svartsengi plant supplies the entire country with power. They added that in the event of disruption, Iceland’s capital Reykjavik would still receive power.
Protos reached out to crypto-mining facilities in Iceland that may have been impacted by the earthquake and will update the piece if we hear back.