Tue, 11 May 2021

Fears of volcano eruption follows "swarm" of earthquakes

Robert Besser
08 Mar 2021, 07:40 GMT+10

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND - The volatile islands of Iceland have experienced unusual seismic activity in the past week, with over 18,000 earthquakes occurring.

Authorities have warned that the non-stop earthquakes felt throughout cities and towns could be indications of an imminent volcanic eruption.

Icelanders are not strangers to considerable seismic activities, as Iceland hosts volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, lava fields and occasional earthquakes.

Authorities note that when earthquakes occur in a "swarm" they are felt predominantly in the same area and are often associated with geothermal activity.

The majority of recent earthquakes have been recorded in the Southern Peninsula, located south of Reykjavik. Some two-thirds of Iceland's population lives in Reykjavik and its nearby towns.

The majority of the recent earthquakes have been measured at magnitude 3.0 or less, though the largest tremor of 5.6 occurred on February 24.

Very little damage has been reported from the recent earthquakes.

"Of course it worries people. For this region, this is actually fairly unusual, not because of the type of earthquakes or their intensity, but for their duration. It's been going for more than a week now," noted orvaldur rarson of the University of Iceland, speaking to CNN.

There are numerous volcanoes located near the area of the earthquakes.

"We are not saying we have signs an eruption has begun," said Kristn Jnsdttir, an official from the Icelandic Meteorological Office, in talking to local media. "But this looks like the type of activity we expect in the run-up to an eruption."

Officials have asked residents to avoid traveling to the peninsula. Of note, this would be the first eruptions in this area since the 12th century.

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