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North Iceland Earthquakes Increasing In Strength, Still Very Frequent

North Iceland Earthquakes Increasing In Strength, Still Very Frequent

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published February 20, 2018

The tremors around the north Iceland island of Grímsey have been ongoing for the past few days now, and have increased slightly in strength.

As reported last Friday, hundreds of tremors have been recorded at or below 3 on the Richter scale near Grímsey. The pattern shows smaller quakes further away from Grímsey, with the largest tremors at or near the island itself, the largest of all measuring 4.2 approximately ten kilometres northeast of Grímsey.

The Icelandic Met Office now reports that there is a seismic swarm underway around Grímsey, and the data shows that the quakes have grown slightly in magnitude.

“At 05:38 UTC this morning an earthquake of magnitude M5.2 occurred 14 km ENE of Grímsey,” the Met Office wrote yesterday. “It was felt widely in the Northern part of the country. Five more earthquakes with magnitude between 4-4.9 were detected over the past night.”

However, the Met Office emphasises that “[e]arthquakes are common in this area”, and that while it is natural to wonder if the plethora of submarine volcanoes in this region are causing the quakes, “[t]he closest continuous GPS station located on Grímsey does not show any visible deformation that might indicate magmatic intrusion. This, together with the depth of the earthquakes, suggests that the current seismic activity is most likely related to tectonic processes at a divergent plate boundary, and not related to the movement or accumulation of magma.”

We will keep readers updated on any significant developments that may arise regarding these earthquakes.


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