A M5.7 earthquake occurred on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula at 10.05am this morning, and dozens of earthquakes have followed since. The quakes have been felt across much of the country, including the Westman Islands in South Iceland and Stykkishólmur in West Iceland. The activity stretches over a relatively large area of the peninsula and Kristín Jónsdóttir, Earthquake Hazards Co-ordinator at the Icelandic Met Office, says residents should be prepared for the possibility of still larger earthquakes. There is no sign of volcanic activity in the area.
At least 45 of the quakes in the swarm measured over M3, and at least 9 of those over M4, according to preliminary reports issued around 12.30pm. The earthquakes have more than one point of origin stretching between Kleifarvatn lake and the town of Grindavík in Southwest Iceland. “There is a lot of activity in this area, we know that very well, but I have never experienced such a powerful swarm or felt so many earthquakes in such a short time here in the [Icelandic Met Office] building, so this is unusual,” Kristín stated.
According to Kristín, there are no indications that the quakes are connected to volcanic activity on the peninsula, but experts have been sent to take gas measurements in the area. Such measurements would give indications of whether any volcanic activity is occurring below the surface.
The Civil Protection Department has declared an alert phase on the Reykjanes peninsula and Reykjavík to co-ordinate emergency response, but has stated the declaration does not affect the public directly. The Civil Protection Department provides English-language guidelines on earthquake safety measures.