Uplift of 5 cm Near Grindavík, No Volcanic Activity Expected Skip to content
Grindavík - Þorbjörn
Photo: Golli. Grindavík and Þorbjörn mountain.

Uplift of 5 cm Near Grindavík, No Volcanic Activity Expected

Even though over 60 earthquakes were recorded near Grindavík yesterday, seismic activity has mostly subsided in the area, RÚV reports. The Icelandic Met Office continues to monitor the situation but expects the seismic activity to peter out without volcanic activity. Authorities declared a state of uncertainty on January 27. The last eruption in the area occurred in ca. 1200.

Over 1,300 Earthquakes

As of midnight yesterday, the Icelandic Met Office had registered three earthquakes near Grindavík, on the Reykjanes peninsula, all of them below magnitude 2.0. Yesterday, the Met Office had recorded a total of approximately 60 earthquakes, most of them below two, as well. Since January 21, over 1,300 earthquakes have rumbled in the area, their epicentres occurring roughly two km northeast of Grindavík.

Uplift of 5 cm

According to recent GPS data, the area is experiencing continued uplift (land elevation) to the west of mt. Þorbjörn. A total upheaval of 5 cm has occurred since January 20. Satellite images corroborate these findings. The Met Office expects seismic activity to follow continued uplift.

As RÚV reports, the most likely explanation for the earthquakes is magma intrusion 3-9 km below the ground, west of Þorbjörn. The Met Office considers it likely that the seismic activity will peter out without volcanic activity. The Scientific Advisory Board of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management will meet tomorrow to review the situation.

Better Safe than Sorry

As previously reported, a town hall meeting was held in Grindavík in late January, after authorities had declared a state of uncertainty. At the meeting, geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson explained that an eruption was not the likeliest event even if magma was accumulating outside the town. “The reason for this preparedness level is that we can’t take any chances. We have to be ready, we live in Iceland, and this is a volcanic country.

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