M5 Earthquake Felt in Reykjavík and Across Southwest Iceland Skip to content

M5 Earthquake Felt in Reykjavík and Across Southwest Iceland

By Yelena

earthquake Reykjanes
Photo: Almannavarnadeild ríkislögreglustjóra/Facebook.

An earthquake measuring M5 occurred just before midnight on the Reykjanes peninsula last night. The quake was felt widely across Southwest Iceland, including in the capital area. A considerable amount of aftershocks occurred, the largest measuring M4.6 and M4.3.

The initial earthquake occurred at 11.36pm last night by Fagradalsfjall mountain. It was felt as far away as Borgarnes, West Iceland, and the Westman Islands in South Iceland. Rockfall was also reported in Festarfjall mountain, about 6km (3.7mi) southwest of the epicentre of the earthquake. The aforementioned strong aftershocks occurred at 5.46am and 6.23am respectively, but activity has since calmed.

Seismic activity has been more frequent on the Reykjanes peninsula since December of last year, with magma accumulation below the surface causing land rise in the area. The earthquakes this morning are part of a swarm that began in February and is now stretching farther east, according to the Icelandic Met Office. “The Reykjanes peninsula is a highly active geological area due to the rift between the Eurasian and North American continental plates,” Elísabet Pálmadóttir, a Geohazard Specialist at the Icelandic Met Office, told Iceland Review. “The earthquake activity can be caused by volcanic or tectonic activity, even both.”

Earthquake Swarm in North Iceland Continues

Further along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, in North Iceland, an earthquake swarm is also ongoing. Two earthquakes of magnitude 4.4 and 3.9 occurred around 10km off the coast of North Iceland yesterday and were widely felt in the area. An earthquake swarm began in the area last month, and a state of uncertainty for the region declared on June 19 by Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management is still in effect. Travellers are particularly warned to limit time beneath steep slopes due to increased risk of landslides.

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