From Iceland — Earthquakes Linked To Power Plant Activity

Earthquakes Linked To Power Plant Activity

Published November 16, 2020

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About ten earthquakes of magnitude 2 and over have been detected in the Hengill area over night. The largest of the quakes, which occurred at around 7pm, measured 3.3. RUV reports.

An announcement made by ON Power states that the earthquakes occurred in an area where geothermal water used in the Hellisheiði power plant is pumped back into the earth. The quake was also felt in Hveragerði and the capital area.

Staff constantly monitor developments in the area, in consultation with the Met Office’s earthquake watch, and stated that the operations of the power plant were not affected by the quake. The power plant provides electricity and hot water for the district heating in the capital area.

The power plant has been producing energy for the capital area for almost 30 years, and a large amount of water is regularly pumped back into the earth from the geothermal system after it’s been used in the plant. This helps increase the sustainability of geothermal energy and reduces environmental impact.

Changes in re-injection have caused small seismic activity in the past, but no changes were made when the activity occurred last night. ON Power scientists believe, however, that the earthquakes are related to voltage changes caused by prolonged re-injection.

No changes will be made in light of the earthquakes, as it is believed that changes in its arrangement are likely to increase the probability of seismic activity in the future.

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