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    HomeNewsPowerful earthquake swarm near Fagradalsfjall volcano

    Powerful earthquake swarm near Fagradalsfjall volcano

    A powerful earthquake swarm started at Krísuvík volcano, just northeast of Fagradalsfjall and a short distance north of Fagradalshraun lava field, on July 30, 2022, at a depth of about 5 to 7 km (3 – 4 miles). As a result, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) raised the Aviation Color Code for the volcano to Yellow. The last eruption at this volcano took place in 2021.

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    The largest earthquakes so far were M4.0 at 14:03 UTC, felt in Reykjavik and all the way up to Borgarnesm, followed by M4.3 at 20:48 UTC and M4.2 at 04:06 UTC.

    Around 1 800 earthquakes have been registered by midnight UTC, and another 600 from midnight to 04:50 UTC today.

    IMO believes that these quakes are due to a magma flow that is taking place northeast of Fagradalsfjall.1

    earthquake swarm reykjanes peninsula july 30 - 31 2022 bgz
    Earthquake swarm in Reykjanes peninsula July 30 – 31, 2022. Credit: IMO, The Watchers
    earthquake swarm reykjanes peninsula july 30 - 31 2022

    Earthquake swarm in Reykjanes peninsula July 30 – 31, 2022. Credit: IMO, The Watchers

    While no rockslides and landslides have been registered so far, stronger earthquakes could trigger them, IMO said, advising residents to be careful on steep slopes, near steep sea cliffs and to avoid areas prone to landslides.

    Einar Hjörleifsson, an expert in natural hazards at IMO, said the activity may be a precursor to another volcanic eruption. Einar noted that the seismic activity currently underway on Reykjanes is reminiscent of that which occurred in the area around the end of 2021. But in that instance, there was no eruption, as the lava did not rise to the surface.2

    According to Jón Frímann Jónsson of Iceland Geology, the most likely outcome of this swarm is also an eruption, which, judging by the magnitude of harmonic tremor, could be stronger than the one in 2021.3

    While it’s currently hard to predict when the eruption will start, one indication is the depth of the earthquakes so IMO is paying close attention to any change, particularly if they are getting more shallow which would be an indication that magma is pushing up.

    earthquake swarm reykjanes peninsula 48 hours to 1055z july 31 2022

    The last eruption at this volcano started on March 19, 2021, after more than 50 000 earthquakes registered since February 24, and lasted to September 18, 2021 (VEI 0).

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