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Mt. Thorbjorn volcano (Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland): increasing earthquake intensity

Sun, 2 Feb 2020, 12:29
12:29 PM | BY: T
Earthquakes under the Reykjanes peninsula during the past 7 days
Earthquakes under the Reykjanes peninsula during the past 7 days
The seismic crisis on the Reykjanes peninsula continues. It shows no signs of weakening, but has intensified during the past days.
While hundreds of small quakes have been occurring each day, several tremors have now reached magnitudes above 3, the largest one being a felt quake on Friday with magnitude 4.3 at 6 km depth 4.3 km NNE of Grindavík.
The earthquake swarm is interpreted as indicating magma accumulation beneath Mt. Thorbjorn volcano, which lies on the active SW rift zone where tectonic spreading of the tectonic plates causes magma generation from the underlying mantle, something to which Iceland itself owes its existence.
Will there be an eruption in the near future?
This is far from certain. Modelling of the detected ground deformation suggest that the volume of new magma accumulated at shallow depth so far is small. This means that at least no large eruption should be expected, unless the situation changes. Whether an eruption occurs at all as a result of the recent intrusion is impossible to predict.
However, as the earthquakes continue, the likelihood of a possible rift eruption in this area is also increasing. The government maintains a state of heightened alert and closely monitors the situation.

Previous news

Mon, 27 Jan 2020, 15:24

Reykjanes volcano (Reykjanes peninsula (SW Iceland)) activity update: Alert level raised to Yellow- earthquake swarm, inflation

InSAR data showing inflation. Credit: IMO.
IMO reports: An inflation has been detected since January 21st and is centred just west of Mt. Thorbjorn on Reykjanes peninsula. The inflation is unusually rapid, around 3-4 mm per day and has accumulated to 2 cm to date. It has been detected both on continuous GPS stations and in InSAR images. The inflation is most likely a sign of magma accumulation at a depth of just a few km. If magma accumulation is causing the inflation, the accumulation is very small, with the first volume estimate is around 1 million cubic meters. Read all
Wed, 22 Jan 2020, 06:00

Reykjanes volcano (Iceland) - Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 22 January-28 January 2020 (New Activity / Unrest)

IMO reported possible magma accumulation beneath Reykjanes, centered along the plate boundary below the Svartsengi fissure system, just W of Thorbjorn. Deformation began on 21 January and was unusually rapid, with the rate of inflation occurring at 3-4 mm per day (3 cm total by 29 January), as detected by InSAR and continuous GPS data. Magma accumulation, if that was causing the inflation, was small with an estimate volume of 1 million cubic meters, at 3-5 km depth. ... Read all
Show more
Reykjanes volcano
Crater rows 230 m / 755 ft
Reykjanes peninsula (SW Iceland), 63.89°N / -22.52°W
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5) Reykjanes volcano eruptions:
1211, 1226
Typical eruption style
effusive (lava flows)
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