Earthquake in Iceland caused great damage Skip to content

Earthquake in Iceland caused great damage

The earthquake in Southern Iceland at 15.45 on Thursday afternoon caused damage to houses and furniture in many villages in the area. In many places cracks can be found in roads and the bridge over Ölfusá river between Thorlákshöfn and Eyrarbakki was closed for a few hours.

The earthquake which is estimated to be more than 6.1 on the Richter scale probably originated between Hveragerdi and Selfoss, approximately 50 kilometers from Reykjavík. The quake shook houses in the vicinity so strongly that pictures fell off the walls, TV sets turned over, book cases fell over and porcelain broke to pieces. Many residents were in shock but so far reports have now revealed serious injuries to people. However, some farmhouses were badly hit and sheep and other cattle were killed in at least one farm when the roof caved in.

Many residents in the villages of Hveragerdi, Selfoss, Thorlákshöfn, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri have described the scene at their homes as if a bomb had exploded. However, even though cracks have been found in walls of many buildings, no reports have been filed of residential buildings structures that have been seriously damaged. Police have advised people to stay outside. Those who have the chance to stay with relatives or friends outside the earthquake area for the night should do so.

The quake has brought back memories from the year 2000 when two earthquakes of about 6.5 on the Richter scale shook the southern part of Iceland. Residents say that even though this quake was not as strong as the quakes in 2000, it originated so close to the densely populated area that the damage was far greater.

At hospitals patients were kept outside for fear that another quake might hit the area. However around 19.00 scientists put forward the theory that there had really been two simultaneous quakes and this, they said, reduced the risk of a big afterquake. Still a series of small quakes has hit the area all afternoon, but none of them have been higher than 3.0 on the Richter scale.

Police from Reykjavík were quick to come to the scene. All in all about 300 aid workers are now said to be in the area. Minister of Justice, Björn Bjarnason, said on an interviwe on RÚV that all procedures seemed to have worked well. The weather at the scene is excellent and that helps to keep people calm.

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