Earthquake Roundup: Significant Quaking Over The Weekend, No Signs Of Impending Eruption

Earthquake Roundup: Significant Quaking Over The Weekend, No Signs Of Impending Eruption

Published March 1, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Timothée Lambrecq

Southwest Iceland continues to experience numerous significant earthquakes, which began on Wednesday morning. According to the latest data there have been—at the time of this writing—84 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3 or over since 09:53 on Saturday morning, with a total of about 7,200 quakes of any magnitude since Wednesday morning.

However, it bears emphasising that data from GPS measurements, gas readings and satellite imagery show that there are no signs that a volcanic eruption is imminent. Rather, these quakes are the result of significant movement along the portion of the fault line which passes through the Reykjanes peninsula.

Most of the seismic activity has been localised entirely in Reykjanes, and it is expected that this activity will not begin to calm down until some time this week. However, the earth is notoriously coy when it comes to revealing what it intends to do or stop doing, and when, so this remains an estimate.

Given the closeness of the activity to the greater Reykjavík area, many capital area residents have been feeling the quakes, raising worries about what a stronger earthquake could mean. While Icelandic houses and buildings are very safe places to be during an earthquake, in case of a dire emergency there is already an evacuation plan in place for the capital area. This would focus on evacuating portions of the Reykjavík area rather than the entire city. It is at this point considered highly unlikely that this will need to be used.

However, the people of Reykjanes are the hardest hit by these quakes, especially the residents of Grindavík. In typical Icelandic fashion, many of them have chosen to face the danger with humour. Ólöf Daðey Pétursdóttir of Grindavík made earthquake bingo cards for her family, wherein boxes are filled in for where someone was and what they were doing when they felt a quake. Unsurprisingly, these cards will filled in very quickly.

The Grapevine will continue to keep you updated on the situation. You can also follow the action live on the official site of the Icelandic Met Office.

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