Earthquake Swarm Intensifies on Reykjanes Peninsula

Keilir

A magnitude 3.7 earthquake was felt across Southwest Iceland, in the Reykjavík capital area, and as far as Borgarnes, West Iceland just before 2:00 AM this morning. Its point of origin was on the Reykjanes peninsula in Southwest Iceland, between Keilir and Litli-Hrútur mountains. The quake is part of an ongoing earthquake swarm on the peninsula, not far from the ongoing Fagradalsfjall eruption.

“The earthquake swarm is still ongoing; the quakes are occurring about one minute apart. The swarm has gotten stronger today than it was yesterday,” Lovísa Mjöll Guðmundsdóttir, Natural Hazard Specialist at the Icelandic Met Office told Iceland Review. The swarm is nothing unusual for the region, according to Lovísa, and it could die out in the coming days or continue for some time.

The earthquakes could, however, be a sign that magma is collecting below ground, but if that is the case Lovísa says it is not near the surface. “The earthquakes are around 5-7km [3.1-4.3mi] deep, so if there is magma it is quite deep underground.” No volcanic tremors have been detected at the site.

Science Board meets today

The Civil Protection Department’s Science Board will meet later today to discuss the ongoing eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula as well as the earthquake activity that woke residents across the region last night. The board will receive the latest satellite images of the area, which should provide more clues as to what is behind the activity. “We’ll have to wait and see,” Lovísa stated.

The Science Board will also review the ongoing eruption as well as activity at Askja crater, where uplift has been occurring since the beginning of August, which could mean magma is collecting below the surface. “The land is still rising and there are earthquake swarms from time to time, but this is all normal activity,” Lovísa stated. “We are continuing to monitor it closely.”

Apartment Construction Hits 4.5-Year Low

iceland housing market

There have not been fewer apartments under construction in the Reykjavík capital area since February 2017, RÚV reports. If the trend continues, housing prices will continue to rise in the region. The main reason is a lack of plots, according to the Federation of Icelandic Industries (Samtök Iðnaðarins, or SI).

There are currently just under 3,400 apartments being built in the capital area. This is an 18% drop compared to the same time last year, when there were 4,100 apartments under construction. The biggest contraction is in Reykjavík, where apartment construction has dropped by 24%, and the smallest in Kópavogur, where it has contracted by 10%. Three out of every four apartments under construction in the capital area are in these two municipalities.

Read More: Iceland’s Housing Market

The combination of high demand and low supply pushes housing prices upward, which can be dangerous for the housing market. Ingólfur Bender, SI’s chief economist, stated the lack of building plots is the main issue. “That’s where the bottleneck is, as we have been pointing out for a long time. The municipal authorities have been twiddling their thumbs on this issue.” Ingólfur says the Central Bank’s decision to tighten mortgage regulations will lower demand, but supply is the root of the problem.

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The first impression I got of her was from her brother. It must have been a few months back. He was saying how she had returned to training after Christmas and declared that she was in much better shape than them. “I outran ’em all,” she had said. Not like she was referring to the second […]

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