From Iceland — UPDATED: Earthquakes Rocking Reykjanes, Pointing To Another Eruption

UPDATED: Earthquakes Rocking Reykjanes, Pointing To Another Eruption

Published July 5, 2023

Photo by
Emma Ledbetter

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake woke late sleepers in central Reykjavík at 8:21 this morning. But, it’s residents of the Reykjanes peninsula that are likely a little worse for wear this morning, waking up from a long night of back to back quakes.

A tally from the Icelandic Met Office lists well over 1000 quakes that have struck the peninsula over the past days, with 21 larger than a magnitude of 3.0. The return of constant rumbling has geologists and volcanologists watching the area closely, with RÚV reporting that an eruption could be imminent at Fagradalsfjall.

The area last erupted at Geldingadalir in 2021 and Meradalir in 2022.

Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson told the radio station Bylgjan on Monday the land has been inflating under the entirety of the Reykjanes peninsula in recent weeks, signalling rising lava under the surface.

The rising land throughout the entirety of the peninsula – not just under the previous eruptions sites – also signals that the entire peninsula could be one giant active volcano rather than a chain of smaller volcanoes, as previously believed. In theory, that means that lava could begin erupting from any place on the Reykjanes peninsula.

UPDATE, July 5, 13:00 — The man of the hour, Þorvaldur further told Morgunblaðið Wednesday morning the seismic activity indicates another eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula appears imminent. He said there are signs – including the shallow depth of the the earthquakes – that a considerable amount of lava is pooling below the surface, with the estimated location of an eruption being just north of Meradalir, which last erupted from August 3 to August 22, 2022.

Based on the degree of land rise in the area, Þorvaldur notes that the eruption could be larger than those that occurred in 2021 and 2022.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!