A tremor, measured to have a magnitude 3.1, was recorded just north-northwest of Bláfjöll, a popular skiing area, in southwest Iceland yesterday, at around 5:30 PM.
The tremor came from a depth of about 4.5 kilometres, and was felt in the capital area. This was followed by some minor aftershocks, none of them measuring above 3 in magnitude. Bláfjöll is about 30 kilometres southeast of Reykjavík.
Bjarki Kaldalóns Friis, a natural hazard expert at the Icelandic Met Office, told RÚV that earthquakes in this area are unusual. Normally, tremors are more likely to be recorded both northeast or southeast of the area. Most importantly, he added, there are no signs of volcanic activity in the making at this location.
Seismic activity has been decreasing in the Grindavík area over the past few days but, as the Icelandic Met Office reports, magma accumulation under Svartsengi is continuing, at about 8mm every 24 hours. As such, while the Met Office has reduced Grindavík’s hazard level to orange, meaning “significant”, they caution that it is still a very dangerous place to visit.
“The current hazard is now referred to as ‘subsidence into a fissure,’ describing the danger that may be present where fissures are hidden beneath unstable surfaces that could collapse and develop sinkholes,” their most recent assessment reads in part.
Grindavík residents are expected to soon learn how, if at all, they may visit their homes to retrieve more belongings.