From Iceland — Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake Hits Near Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant

Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake Hits Near Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant

Published August 17, 2021

Desirai Thompson
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A 3.1 magnitude earthquake hit just three kilometres north of the Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant around 22:49 yesterday evening. Several aftershocks were recorded after the initial quake, the highest of which reached magnitude 2.

The quake was felt from the town of Hellisheiði to the area where the geothermal power plant is located, according to an announcement by the Icelandic Met Office. The earthquakes have not impacted the operation of the plant.

During the week from August 2nd to August 8th, around 420 earthquakes were measured by the IMO. That’s down from 480 in the previous week.

Fréttablaðið reports that Lovísa Mjöll Guðmundsdóttir, an expert at the IMO, states that it is a fairly active area for earthquakes and the size is not uncommon or dangerous in itself.

The IMO announcement advises to be aware that earthquakes of this magnitude can increase the risk of falling rocks from hills and slopes.

Scientists at Orku Náttúrunnar (ON) believe these quakes were caused by an injection of geothermal water from the power plant. Vísir reports that geothermal water from the plant is pumped back into the ground after it has been harnessed to generate electricity and hot water for use in the capital area. This process is used as it increases sustainability and lessens the environmental impact of producing power.

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