Recording 7,000 tremors and swelling of the ground…a possible volcanic eruption is coming in Iceland

Recording 7,000 tremors and swelling of the ground…a possible volcanic eruption is coming in Iceland

Towards a new volcanic eruption in Iceland? Signs of ground swelling, possibly due to the accumulation of magma, have been discovered near the Blue Lagoon, a tourist site in southwest Iceland, where the ground has been shaking for several days, the Iceland Meteorological Office announced on Saturday. .

A series of earthquakes began shaking the area around Grindavik on Wednesday, not far from the rising waters of the Blue Lagoon on the Reykjanes Peninsula. More than 7,000 earthquakes were recorded, the largest of which reached a magnitude of 4.5. Although the phenomenon is still continuing, its severity has decreased significantly.

Over the past 24 hours, geologists have simultaneously observed a bulge of land, with a maximum of three centimetres, “occurring more rapidly than before” and whose epicenter is located 1.5 kilometers northwest of Mount Thorbjörn, near the Svartsinje geothermal power station and the Svartsinge Geothermal Power Plant. . “Blue Lake.” The aviation alert level was changed from “green” to “yellow”, without disrupting air traffic.

Similar events in the past… without an eruption

The International Maritime Organization said: “At the present time, there is no indication that magma is moving at shallower depths,” stressing that the situation may change quickly. Earthquakes in recent days have produced a large rift that “may allow magma to find paths to shallower depths,” which could subsequently lead to a volcanic eruption.

Two similar events occurred in 2020 and 2022 at the same location without an eruption. Geologists indicated that these phenomena are common in the region. Located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the peninsula is one of the most important regions on the planet, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are moving apart.

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This is the fifth land bulge observed in the region since seismic activity awakened on the Reykjanes Peninsula in December 2019 after about 800 years of dormancy. Three of them resulted in volcanic eruptions, in 2021, 2022, and last July in the Fagradalsfjall mountain area, about ten kilometers east of Thorbjörn mountain.

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, modeling is underway to determine the depth and size of the phenomenon near Svartsingi. In addition, new radar and satellite images of the Reykjanes Peninsula, which will be available on Monday, are expected to provide a clearer picture of recent magma movements and crustal deformations in the region.

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