According to the Icelandic Met Office, two earthquakes were registered near Grindavík in Southwest Iceland this morning. The first, which occurred at 4.31 am this morning, was of a magnitude 3.5, and the second, occurring at 4.59 am, was 3.2 on the Richter scale. The earthquakes occurred 1.9 km and 1.5 north of Grindavík respectively.
Authorities have declared a state of uncertainty due to possible magma accumulation a few kilometres west of Þorbjörn mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula (Grindavík is located 3 km south of Þorbjörn). According to the Icelandic Met Office, a land uplift of three centimetres over the past week, combined with an ongoing earthquake swarm, could be a sign that magma is accumulating underground, which could result in an eruption. Scientists are monitoring the area closely, having placed additional measuring devices on Þorbjörn.
In an interview with Vísir, Bjarki Kaldalóns Friis, natural disaster expert with the Met Office, stated that between twenty and thirty earthquakes had been registered in the area from midnight. All of the earthquakes were smaller than the quakes that happened between 4.30 and 5 am.
According to Bjarki, the two earthquakes were felt by many Grindavík residents.
“The earthquakes appear to be occurring between Grindavík and Mt. Þorbjörn, which is slightly closer to town than previous quakes; these are earthquakes that people feel, and so they are, unsurprisingly, slightly uneasy,” Bjarki stated.
Asked whether the quakes were indicative of a coming eruption, or whether they were normal given the circumstances, Bjarki replied that such earthquakes commonly accompany land uplift.
“There is a buildup of energy that is released during these earthquakes; they are not a sign of volcanic unrest,” Bjarki replied.