From Iceland — Seismic Roundup: Quakes Quieting, Eruption Still Expected

Seismic Roundup: Quakes Quieting, Eruption Still Expected

Published March 17, 2021

Photo by
Axel Sigurðarson

While the severity of the ongoing earthquakes in Reykjanes has slowed, scientists still caution that an eruption is still very much in the cards.

According to the latest data from the Icelandic Met Office, there were only three earthquakes of a magnitude of 3 or greater since midnight last night, all of them in Reykjanes.

While this may help Grindavík residents get a better night’s sleep, scientists at the Icelandic Met Office emphasise that an impending eruption should still be expected.

GPS measurements and satellite imagery has shown that the magma beneath the surface of the earth has stopped moving southwards, with its central point being just northeast of Fagradalsfjall, and is now moving closer to Keilir. Part of the magma, which has been moving for about three weeks now, is believed to have solidified.

That said, an eruption is still predicted, with quakes up to 6.5 in magnitude also expected. The magma deposit is estimated to be eight kilometres long and four kilometres deep, but only about a metre wide. As it is now, it is still easier for the magma to move horizontally than vertically, but that situation may change at any moment.

For more on this, read our latest feature: The Sleeping Giant: Earthquakes And Volcanoes In Reykjanes, where we take a more detailed look at what has happened, what may happened, and what the worst case scenarios may be.

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