Earthquakes Rattle Southwest Iceland Skip to content

Earthquakes Rattle Southwest Iceland

By Iceland Review

A series of earthquakes, the largest of which measured 4.7 on the Richter scale, hit Iceland’s southwestern region last weekend. The first shock hit on May 29—on the one-year anniversary of the 6.2 south Iceland earthquake, which caused considerable damage.

The Blue Lagoon, which is located close to the epicenter of the earthquakes. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“The activity seems to be subsiding completely, so we don’t expect further large earthquakes,” Hjörleifur Sveinbjörnsson, a geologist at the Iceland Meteorological Office, told Fréttabladid.

The main earthquake, which measured 4.7 on the Richter scale, originated approximately eight kilometers northeast of Grindavík. It hit around 9:30 pm on Friday. Two strong aftershocks, measuring 4.3 and 3.9 on the Richter scale, followed at 1:30 and 5 pm on Saturday.

A total of 1,900 earthquakes were measured in the area during the weekend. The largest of these earthquakes, which could be felt in Reykjavík and other areas close by, caused a temporary blackout in Grindavík but no damages have been reported.

The epicenter was very close to the Blue Lagoon, which is a frequented travel destination. Some tourists who visited the lagoon at the time of the largest earthquakes on Saturday were very frightened.

“I’m not used to earthquakes in my country so I was terrified; I thought everything would break down,” Maria Lefthario, a tourist from Cyprus, told RÚV. “I screamed and the man behind me was an Icelander and he said that it happens here everyday, that it was nothing.”

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