Greater than 20,000 earthquakes have shaken southern Iceland this week, rattling the capital metropolis of Reykjavik and preserving geologists on their toes as all indicators level to a pending volcanic eruption, the Icelandic Meteorological Workplace (IMO) reported on Thursday (March 4).
This week’s marathon of quakes continues a swarm of seismic exercise that started on Feb. 24, when a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck close to Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula — about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the capital metropolis.
Earthquakes within the 5.0- to five.9-magnitude vary are thought of reasonable, and can lead to slight injury to close by buildings, based on Michigan Technological College. Thankfully, the quake’s epicenter was far sufficient from the island’s populated areas that no injury or accidents had been reported.
The overwhelming majority of the 1000’s of quakes which have adopted the Feb. 24 occasion have been minor, with solely two temblors registering above magnitude 5.0, based on the IMO. Nonetheless, residents of Reykjavik have felt the shaking day after day, with some “waking up with an earthquake, others [going] to sleep with an earthquake,” Thorvaldur Thordarson, a professor of volcanology on the College of Iceland, informed The New York Instances.
Whereas disconcerting, there’s “nothing to fret about,” Thordarson added, because the quakes have all been minor and distant sufficient to go away Reykjavik unhurt. (In the meantime, the IMO issued a warning of elevated landslide threat on the Reykjanes Peninsula, however had no additional steering for city-dwellers.)
Prior to now, seismic swarms like this one have been noticed forward of volcanic eruptions in southern Iceland, based on the IMO. Magma motion on the boundary the place the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet probably brought about the tremors, the company mentioned, which might gas the 5 energetic volcanoes on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
If any of southern Iceland’s volcanoes do blow their tops within the coming weeks, the eruptions shall be each anticipated and manageable. Based on Thordarson, southern Iceland’s volcanoes expertise “pulses” of exercise each 800 years or so, and the final pulse occurred between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Iceland is “on time” for one more eruption cycle, he added.
Just like the earthquakes, these potential eruptions must also pose little menace to the inhabitants of Iceland. Such eruptions would look nothing just like the explosive 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which despatched an ash column greater than 5 miles (9 km) into the sky, compelled tons of of individuals to evacuate and halted European air visitors for six days, volcanologist Dave McGarvie wrote in The Dialog.
“Eruptions in southwest Iceland are of a fluid rock sort known as basalt. This leads to slow-moving streams of lava fed from gently exploding craters and cones,” wrote McGarvie, of Lancaster College in Lancashire, England. “In Iceland, these are warmly known as ‘vacationer eruptions’ as they’re comparatively protected and predictable.”
At the moment, vacationers getting into Iceland are topic to a five-day quarantine interval as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, so hopeful volcano watchers may have transfer quick, or accept the webcam view.
Initially revealed on Dwell Science.