Large Earthquake Hints at Bárðarbunga Unrest Skip to content

Large Earthquake Hints at Bárðarbunga Unrest

By Steindor Gretar Jonsson

Vatnajökull Grímsfjall Grímsvötn Bárðarbunga Kverkfjöll Jöklar Jökull Vísindi
Photo: Golli. Vatnajökull glacier.

An earthquake measuring at 5.4 on the Richter scale took place at Bárðarbunga stratovolcano under Vatnajökull glacier this morning. Seismic activity of this magnitude could mark the beginning of a new era of unrest in Bárðarbunga, the first since the Holuhraun eruption in 2014 to 2015, reports.

Pressure building

The earthquake is the largest in the area since 2015. Hildur María Friðriksdóttir, a specialist at the Iceland Meteorological Office, said that crustal movement by Bárðarbunga increased at the beginning of last year, but did not result in increased seismic activity until February this year. “This could be the beginning of a process that could take years, but there is evidence of pressure building in the area,” she said.

Situation monitored

The Met Office will continue to monitor the situation, but Hildur María said that no response by the authorities is necessary at this time. She added that many large earthquakes were detected before, during and after the Holuhraun eruption.

The earthquake this morning was followed by an aftershock that measured 3 on the Richter scale, but Bárðarbunga has been quiet since then.

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