From Iceland — Earthquakes Near Keilir Still Ongoing

Earthquakes Near Keilir Still Ongoing

Published October 7, 2021

Reetta Huhta
Photo by
Art Bicnick

According to Vísir, the magnitude of the earthquakes near Keilir has decreased in recent days, but the activity is still high. About 8,800 tremors have been detected in the area since the eruption started on September 27th. Magma isn’t visible in the satellite data released by the Icelandic Met Office, but it could be moving in such a great depth that the satellite isn’t able to notice it.

Volcanologist at the University of Iceland, Þorvaldur Þórðarson, says that the magnitude of the earthquakes is not necessarily a direct indication that magma would be on its way up, but the high activity suggests so. “One possible explanation for the persistent activity is that the magma is trying to find a new way to the surface.”

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He points out that the eruption in Geldingadalur is still ongoing, even though it looks like not much is happening. It might be that the eruption there is coming to an end, but it’s also possible that the magma is only changing its direction. “There might be some restrictions in the eruption channel, which are causing the magma to have a hard time getting up in Geldingadalur, and therefore it is looking for a new way to surface,” Þorvaldur explains.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, about 200 earthquakes have been detected at Keilir since last midnigh. The largest tremor had a magnitude of 2.4 and happened around six o’clock this morning.

Yesterday, a total of 900 earthquakes were measured in the area and 1,500 the day before. The vast majority of yesterday’s earthquakes were below magnitude one and none of them were above magnitude 3. The last major earthquake happened on October 5th and was measured at 3.4.

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