M5.2 Earthquake Rocks Capital Area Skip to content
reykjanes peninsula keilir
Photo: Golli.

M5.2 Earthquake Rocks Capital Area

An M5.2 earthquake was recorded at 10:23 pm last night, July 9. It was the largest earthquake yet since seismic activity increased on the Reykjanes peninsula some six days ago.

The quake could be felt throughout the capital region and beyond, with even Ísafjörður residents reporting to have felt the shock.

reykjanes volcano
Met Office Iceland

As of this morning, an additional 630 earthquakes have been recorded. All of them have been significantly smaller than the large quake felt last night.

Böðvar Sveinsson, scientist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, stated to Vísir: “It’s a bit strange that it hasn’t erupted yet considering its proximity to the surface.” Reports over the weekend indicated that the magma has travelled quickly to the surface, now at a depth of only 500 metres.

“But we still expect an eruption,” stated Böðvar, noting that it is impossible to predict with certainty when the eruption might occur.

Experts currently expect the eruption to occur in the region between Fagradalsfjall and Mt. Keilir on the Reykjanes peninsula, pictured above.

More signs of an eruption

A geothermal borehole on the Reykjanes peninsula also began overflowing over the weekend.

Its owner, Ísleifur Árnason, reported to RÚV that it had behaved similarly before the 2021 and 2022 Reykjanes eruption.

“In the past two eruptions, water started to pour from it, maybe the day before the eruption occurred,” he said.

“Now the same thing is happening again. The temperature in the borehole has risen from about 9°C [48°F] to nearly 40°C [104°F] since the earthquake swarm began on Tuesday. The water surface has also risen since then, and on Thursday, a small amount of water started to overflow from the 800-meter-deep borehole. There are clear signs that an eruption is imminent.”

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