In Iceland, 18,000 earthquakes in days indicate a possible eruption on the horizon

Similar tremors have been observed before volcanic eruptions in the past, and the Icelandic Meteorological Office said magma movements were a likely cause of the continued activity. The agency warned that an eruption could occur in days or weeks.

“The two tectonic plates are moving away from each other, and that movement has created the conditions for magma to rise to the surface,” said Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a research professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland.

Dr Einarsson said that of the five volcanoes in the Reykjanes area, magma movement had been observed near at least three of them since the seismic episode began in December 2019. “We may be entering a new period. active on the peninsula, “he said. additional. “It seems there is food for some eruption.”

Iceland has about 30 active volcanoes, but volcanologists say an eruption in Reykjanes will not threaten inhabited areas of the peninsula. “We are talking about an effusive eruption, rather than an explosive one,” Dr. Sigmundsson said, explaining that the lava would likely bubble with little explosive force.

He added that any activity is unlikely to be as disruptive as the eruption that occurred in 2010, when another volcano in Iceland released a column of ash so large that it caused one of the most significant air traffic disruptions in decades, stranding millions of people. passengers in Europe, some for weeks.

The meteorological office said the volcanic activity could occur near Fagradalsfjall, 20 miles south of Reykjavik, or near nearby Keilir Mountain. Hundreds of volcano enthusiasts have been wowed by live cameras in the area and a website asking “Has there been an eruption yet?” has kept them updated. (It still said “Nei”, no, as of Thursday afternoon, but a playlist on the website helped with the wait.)

The meteorological office said that among the possible scenarios, ongoing seismic activities could decrease in the coming days or weeks, but the peninsula could also face more earthquakes, up to magnitude 6.5.

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