A Series of Earthquakes Rattle Reykjavik

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Around 10 AM this morning, a series of earthquakes shook Iceland’s capital Reykjavík. The largest one was measured at a 5.7 on the Richter scale.

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Snow-covered Mt. Keilir on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula.
Photo: Soffia S via Wikimedia C.C.

The earthquakes were felt in Reykjavík but they originated near Keilir Mountain on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 24 km (15 mi) from the city. The largest earthquake was 5.7 on the Richter scale, and there have now been over 40 aftershocks over the size of 3.0, many of which over 4.0.

The earthquakes were felt all the way to the village of Hella on the South Coast, which is around 100 km (62 mi) from the earthquake’s origin, and the Stykkishólmur Town on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula 127 km (79 mi) away.

Reykjanes Peninsula is located on the boundary between two tectonic plates, which means that earthquakes like these are not uncommon. This series, however, has been stronger than usual, and scientists are monitoring the situation closely

There has been no road or structural damage reported. It is worth noting that all buildings in Iceland are designed with earthquakes and extreme weather in mind. Most people feel perfectly safe here, though, understandably, a bit rattled. 

A 5.6 Earthquake in October

In October of last year, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake rocked Reykjavík and the Reykjanes area. Similar to today, it was followed by a series of smaller aftershocks that lasted throughout the day. 

Notably, Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, was doing a live interview with the Washington Post when the big quake happened. 

You can read more about the October earthquakes here: 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Reykjavik | Videos

Videos of the 2021 Earthquake

Social media has been on fire since the quakes started. Tweets with videos have been emerging, many from homes on the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the earthquakes can be felt the most. 

Here is an earthquake shaking a cod liver oil or ‘lýsi’. The caption reads “Ok. Did everybody take their lýsi this morning”

A few earthquakes can get in the way of studying. The caption reads “ Earthquake number 4636283748 at the student counsel’s office of the University of Iceland”.

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