Considerable Seismic Activity on the Reykjanes Peninsula

litli-hrútur reykjanes

Starting around midnight today, the Reykjanes Peninsula has experienced considerable seismic activity. The strongest earthquake was measured at a magnitude of 3.9. At 11 PM yesterday, a 4.9 magnitude earthquake was also detected near Bárðarbunga, a known seismic hotspot in South Iceland.

A new volcanic era

The Reykjanes Peninsula experienced several tremors tonight, although most were relatively minor. The strongest earthquake was measured at a magnitude of 3.9 and originated just north of the town of Grindavík. Several earthquakes were measured between magnitudes two and three.

Einar Hjörleifsson, a Natural Hazards Specialist on duty at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told RÚV this morning that seismic activity on the peninsula had begun to increase just after midnight. He saw no signs of volcanic unrest, although the MET Office would continue to monitor the situation.

In an interview with Vísir in early September, Benedikt Gunnar Ófeigsson, a specialist with the Icelandic MET Office, stated that land uplift had resumed on the Reykjanes Peninsula and that a volcanic eruption might occur in the coming months. Benedikt noted that this was the first time that uplift had been detected so soon after an eruption’s end; this year’s eruption near Litli Hrútur began on July 10 and lasted for just over a month.

With the Reykjanes peninsula having entered a new volcanic era, the region might witness frequent eruptions in the foreseeable future.

Seismic activity near Bárðarbunga

An earthquake measuring 4.9 in magnitude was also detected near Bárðarbunga, an active stratovolcano located under the Vatnajökull glacier in South Iceland, around 11 PM last night. Einar Hjörleifsson told RÚV this morning that earthquakes of this magnitude were common in this area. An earthquake of magnitude 2.2 was measured in a similar location about an hour later.