Seismic activity in Iceland

On February 24th 2021, a series of earthquakes originated at the Reykjanes peninsula and were widely felt on the southwest part of the country. Due to this there's a possibility of volcanic activity in this area.


Concerning possible volcanic activity

Following a series of earthquakes, a volcanic tremor pulse was detected south of Mt Keilir, in the Reykjanes Peninsula on March 3. The area is in southwest Iceland, about 20km (12.5 miles) from Keflavik International Airport and about 15km (less than 10 miles) from the Reykjavík metropolitan area. Such a tremor pulse is a strong indicator of intrusive magma movements that could lead to an imminent volcanic eruption. However, no eruption has been confirmed, but the area is being monitored closely.

Key points:

-Risk to populated areas and critical infrastructure considered very low

-Volcanic activity follows considerable seismic activity in the past week

-The type of eruption expected will not have much impact on international aviation

A relatively small eruption, of the type classified as a fissure eruption (sometimes referred to as Icelandic-type), is expected. The type of eruption anticipated does not usually involve large explosions or significant production of ash dispersed into the stratosphere. Instead, a relatively slow flow of lava is likely to emerge from a fissure or fissures in the ground.

Scientists anticipate that an eruption could last for a few days up to a few weeks.
Due to the likely location of the emergence of lava, populated places and critical infrastructure, such as roads and electricity grids, are not expected to be in danger.

A fact of life

Iceland sits atop the Mid-Atlantic ridge, a 10,000-mile crack in the ocean floor caused by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This is an active volcanic area, and Iceland experiences a volcanic eruption on average, every three to five years.

Seismic- and volcanic activity is a fact of life in Iceland, and Icelanders have learned to live with both its drawbacks, and considerable advantages, such as geothermal energy. The Icelandic Met Office and a team of scientists closely monitor volcanic activity, and all development is closely analyzed. All Icelandic infrastructures is planned and executed with this in mind, and preparedness in the case of an eruption is without a doubt one of the best in the world. Icelandic infrastructure is prepared, and stress tested to deal with natural catastrophes and not liable to shut down in the event of an eruption.

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