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IPFS News Link • Iceland

The 104-ton metal beast standing in the way of disaster: Iceland sends in its biggest bulldozer...


Iceland is sending in its biggest bulldozer to dig three-mile-long trenches in a bid to disrupt lava flows, amid imminent fears the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula will erupt. 

The Caterpillar D11, which weighs 104 tons, set off on a truck under police escort in the early hours of the morning. 

It has been sent to the area near the Svartsengi geothermal power plant to dig defensive trenches in a bid to reduce the amount of damage a potential eruption will have on infrastructure. 

The bulldozer stands at 15 ft tall, and is 35.8 ft long, and can push up to 51 metric tons of earth at a time. 

Its enormous fuel tank can hold up to 417 gallons of diesel, which powers the 850 horsepower engine. 

The Svartsengi power station it is trying to protect is able to serve 20,000 people on the Reykjanes Peninsula with hot water to a heating system, while it serves about 25,000 Icelanders in neighbouring communities. 

The deployment of the massive Caterpillar D11 comes as nearby Grindavik continues to sink with gaping chasms tearing apart buildings and roads, as magma gathers just a few hundred metres beneath the surface amid the prospect of a volcanic eruption. 

Iceland's Met Office said that it has detected a 9-mile long magma intrusion, which is 'propagating upwards slowly' and is believed to currently be 800m under the surface at most.