Earthquake warning for Reykjanes peninsula

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Icelandic Meteorological Office and Almannavarnir have issued a warning about possible large earthquake on the Reykjanes peninsula. This warning is triggered by the earthquake swarm in Krísuvík on 30-May-2015 and a second earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge on 11-June-2015.

Largest earthquakes in this earthquake sequence once it starts might reach magnitude of 6,5. There remains a hope that the stress on the Reykjanes peninsula and Reykjanes ridge is going to be released out slowly without large earthquake taking place. The warning only covers the populated part of the Reykjanes, from Kleifarvatn and east to Ölfus. It is my view that chance is small at best, it might work out that, I do think that is unlikely outcome of this. It is impossible to know when this earthquake activity might happen, but since the warning has been issued it might only be few weeks to month until something happens.

Last large earthquake in Bláfjöll mountains (Breinnisteinsfjöll volcano) took place in 1929 and 1968. Due to the area in question being less populated than it is today there was no or little damage. Current warning says the people should prepare to limit damage, since in past few years the populated areas have moved closer earthquake risk areas of the Reykjanes peninsula.

The warning (in Icelandic)

Skjálftavirkni á Reykjanesskaga (vedur.is, Icelandic Meteorological Office, Icelandic)
Fréttatilkynning vegna jarðskjálftavirkni að undanförnu á svæðinu frá Krísuvík austur í Ölfus (vedur.is, pdf, Icelandic)

Icelandic News

Vara við skjálfta til að draga úr slysahættu (Vísir.is, Icelandic, pictures)
Hætta á stórum skjálfta á Reykjavíkursvæðinu (Vísir.is, Icelandic)

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Article updated at 23:52 UTC.

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14 Replies to “Earthquake warning for Reykjanes peninsula”

  1. What’s with the new mushroom cloud of steam over Holuhraun as of June 19, 2015? CB

    1. Just water hitting the lava field. It is unclear what did happen. Maybe a glacier river flood got into contact with the lava in the area. The lava is going to be hot to warm for a long time, it might at location take several years to cool completely down.

      1. Here are some screenshots that I found of the event.
        There is no day are time shown in them.
        But when we compare the old ice patches, it seems, they are indeed shot on 19th June.
        https://volcanocafe.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/holuhraun-mogt-2015-06-19-2140-gmt.jpg
        http://de.tinypic.com/view.php?pic=ka4ju9&s=8#.VYV_gqY-hRk
        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/74263214/Shared%20online/Schermafdruk%202015-06-19%2023.55.01.png

        It’s not azt the former vent, but in NE direction.

      2. I made some screenshots too yesterday evening/night with the steamcloud. It’s getting warmer in the area (now 13 C north of Vatnajökull) and the snow is melting in the mountains. So I think it is the river jökulsa, with more water, coming in contact with still hot lava.

  2. Jon, regarding the earthquake possibility in south Iceland:

    I understand that the tectonic tension wasn’t all released in the episodes of 2000 and 2008.

    And that activity tends to come within a few years of each other and further west. Though it is impossible to predict when.

    Now there are signs of tensions in the Bláfjoll area. They expect up to M6.5 sometime in soon.

    What about the SISZ? There was also a M4.5 earthquake last year northeast of Selfoss (on the Vordufell, Árnes area) and you suggested also increased tension there. Could we see also another M6 in this area?

    Where do you think the next epicenters will be located?

  3. I also noticed that yesterday there was a 2.1 at Bardarbunga at 8 km depth yesterday with an increase in eq activity.

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