Southwest Iceland Experiences String of Earthquakes Overnight

Kleifarvatn - Krísuvík - Reykjanes

Residents of Southwest Iceland, including the capital area, experienced a series of strong earthquakes last night, August 1, according to the Meteorological Office of Iceland.

The largest registered earthquake was 5.4 magnitude, which occurred around 5:48pm yesterday evening near Grindavík. In total, some 15 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater have occurred since Saturday. The recent series of quakes have their origins near Kleifarvatn, a lake and popular nature area in the Reykjanes peninsula.

The recent increase in seismological activity has led to a declaration of a State of Uncertainty in the event that the Fagradalsfjall eruption becomes active again, as similar conditions were observed before the eruptions of 2021. The recent earthquakes are attributed to magma intrusion, which is in line with the pattern from last year, where a series of earthquakes preceded the eruption. However, according to the Meteorological Office, the magma intrusion is small than last year’s. As of yet, hiking trails remain open in the area, and the Civil Defense has not closed off the area.

No significant damage was caused by the recent quakes, but Mayor of Grindavík, Fannar Jónasson, said to RÚV that some damage was caused to a water pipe, which has since been repaired. Fannar stated that although the earthquakes may be uncomfortable, he believes that everyone is well prepared and that all agencies and businesses in the town have emergency plans.

The Meteorological Office warns of the increased risk of rockfall in Southwest Iceland and advises caution near steep slopes, sea cliffs, and other areas where rocks may be prone to fall.




Reykjanes Earthquakes: Uncertainty Phase Lifted

The National Police Commissioner has, after conferring with the Reykjanes Police commissioner, lifted the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management’s Uncertainty Phase due to the ongoing Reykjanes earthquakes in southwest Iceland. 

The uncertainty phase was declared on May 15 this year, when the Reykjanes earthquakes had been ongoing for a few weeks. Land rise of up to 5.5cm was detected from April 28 to May 28 by mt. Þorbjörn, along with the increased seismic activity of up to 800 quakes per day. The land rise is thought to be due to the formation of a magma intrusion similar to the ones occurring in 2020, one of which led to the 2020 Reykjanes eruption. In recent days, seismic activity has decreased again. The recurring seismic activity support theories that the Reykjanes peninsula might be entering a new eruptive phase. The last such period was 800-1240, with 18 known eruptions over 440 years. 

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management will continue preparing risk assessments, counter-action plans and response programs with national and local authorities, companies, and institutions to prepare for what comes next. 

If seismic activity increases again in concurrence with land rise in the area, authorities will declare an uncertainty phase again.