An earthquake measuring more than three points on the Richter scale hit the area below Eyjafjallajökull glacier in south Iceland early this morning. A series of smaller earthquakes has rattled the region for the past 24 hours.
Eyjafjallajökull glacier towers over the farm Thorvaldseyri. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
A geologist was on watch last night to monitor the developments around the glacier and today the response group of the Civil Protection Department and employees of the volcanic department of the Icelandic Metrological Office were called in for a meeting, visir.is reports.
The Civil Protection Department has a response plan in case of an eruption in Eyjafjallajökull. The first part of the plan has already been set in action—increased research and monitoring. However, the department emphasizes that the current unrest won’t necessarily lead to an eruption.
Eyjafjallajökull last erupted in 1821-1823 and in 1612 before that. It is also believed that the volcano beneath the icecap erupted at the time of the settlement in the 9th century AD. The eruptions have not been disastrous. They start slowly and then increase gradually.
In 1994 and 1999 a series of earthquakes were also sensed in the area. It is believed that a magma intrusion occurred deep inside the volcano but didn’t reach the surface.
Click here to read more about potential volcanic eruptions in Iceland.