Although geophysicists do not believe that the harsh earthquake which occurred underneath the Eyjafjallajökull icecap near the volcanic eruption on Fimmvörduháls is a sign of an upcoming sub-glacial eruption, seismic activity in the area will be monitored closely.
Eyjafjallajökull glacier. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“I don’t expect the magma to reach the surface but when such a powerful earthquake occurs there is a sound reason to pay close attention to the developments in the coming days,” geophysicist Steinunn S. Jakobsdóttir, who is project manager of the seismic activity watch at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told Morgunbladid.
The earthquake, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, hit around 3:30 pm yesterday and could be sensed in towns near the glacier.
Its epicenter was in the eastern Eyjafjallajökull, where many smaller earthquakes have been measured in the past months. This is the largest and shallowest earthquake in the series.
It is believed that the magma channel of the volcanic eruption on Fimmvörduháls takes a turn to the east where the epicenter of yesterday’s earthquake lies.
There haven’t been any changes to the nature of the eruption. Visibility has also been poor. Rivers that have their source near the eruption zone are being monitored and last night there were no indications that their flow was about to change.
The Civil Protection Department emphasized yesterday that all traffic on Eyjafjallajökull is prohibited and the area in a one-kilometer radius around the crater on Fimmvörduháls is closed.
Meanwhile, suggestions of names for the new mountain that is forming at the crater are pouring in.
Task forces from three institutes will review the suggestions, compare them with existing place names in the area and then decide what the new mountain will be called.