From Iceland — No Earthquakes Over 3.0 Detected Over New Years, Eruption Watch Still In Effect

No Earthquakes Over 3.0 Detected Over New Years, Eruption Watch Still In Effect

Published January 3, 2022

Photo by
Axel Sigurðarson

According to the latest data from the Icelandic Met Office, no earthquakes measuring at a greater magnitude than 3.0 have been detected anywhere in Iceland over the Near Year’s holiday.

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That said, scientists are still monitoring the Fagradalsfjall area closely. As an update on the Met Office site details, “GPS instruments and satellite interferograms show that the magmatic intrusion is limited to a dike intrusion by Fagradalsfjall, similarly as in February and March 2021 before the eruption onset on the 19th of March. In the event of a new eruption an onset time and location are highly uncertain, therefore it is not recommended to enter the area close to the previous eruption, until further developments.”

As reported, other scientists have expressed similar sentiments.

Þor­vald­ur Þórðar­son, a professor of volcanology and petrology at the University of Iceland, told RÚV last week: “If you look at the pattern of seismic activity, it’s very similar to that which happened before the March 19th eruption earlier this year. Both in the number of quakes and the power being released due to the quakes. But it’s a lot less; it’s maybe a tenth of what we saw earlier this year. So this is all just a bit calmer.”

Salóme Jór­unn Bern­h­arðsdótt­ir, a natural disasters specialist at the Icelandic Met Office, gave MBL a similar assessment, saying, “Last time, the more powerful quakes decreased, and then eruption came rather quickly to the surface. We can expect the same thing happens now, or see all new behaviour.”

Salomé emphasised that it is impossible to say anything definitive on how likely an eruption will be.

“It is so difficult to say,” she said. “This is a profession that requires incredible caution in predictions. There is so much that plays into this that can have an effect and is unknown. It’s all under the surface, we don’t see it.”

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