Man-Made Earthquakes Could Be On The Way This Week - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Man-Made Earthquakes Could Be On The Way This Week

Published August 18, 2015

Photos by
Sarah Pepin

There will be a heightened chance of earthquakes in South Iceland this week, due to work being done on a geothermal energy plant.

According to an announcement from Civil Protection in Iceland, reinjection in the Húsmúli area in south Iceland will be temporarily turned off in order to work on the piping system of the Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal plant. The cessation of reinjection is supposed to last until August 20 at the latest.

During this time, there will be an increased chance of earthquakes in the Húsmúli area, which may even reach human habitations nearby. The work required on the geothermal piping system will be conducted as quickly as possible to help decrease this likelihood.

Reinjection is a crucial part of the geothermal energy process. When geothermal steam vents are tapped for energy, part of the result is the release of water and other fluids. Much of this fluid is reinjected in order to maintain enough pressure in the vents to move the turbines. Without reinjection, pressure decreases and with it, the chance of earthquakes can increase.

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