A Series of Earthquakes Rattles North Iceland

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

A series of earthquakes, the largest measuring a magnitude of 5.8, has been shaking the area of northern Iceland since Friday.

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The seismic activity began shortly after 1 PM on Friday about 20 kilometres North-East of the town of Siglufjörður. 

The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, in collaboration with the Chief of Police in North East Iceland, has declared an uncertainty phase because of the quakes. They are monitoring the seismic activity but have asked people in the North to make their homes and workplaces earthquake safe.

People in the area should also be aware of various hazards from the tremors, such as rockfalls and avalanches in mountainous regions, and even small tsunamis by the coast.

Thankfully, no injuries nor significant property damage has been reported. Still, a substantial amount of falling rocks has been reported in the mountains near Siglufjörður and Ólafsfjörður.

Colourful houses and a snowy mountain in Siglufjordur town.
Many of the earthquakes were felt in the town of Siglufjörður. Photo: Bri vir Flickr

Over 4.000 Earthquakes

The series of earthquakes started with a few tremors on Friday, none of which were bigger than 3.0 on the Richter scale. However, the swarm of quakes has not stopped since, and the Icelandic Meteorological Office has now recorded over 4.000 tremors in the area.

One hundred twenty-two of these earthquakes have been measured at a magnitude of over 3.0, three of which over 5.0. The biggest one—measuring at a 5.8— hit North Iceland at 7:07 PM last night. 

That quake could be felt all over the North and as far as Ísafjörður in the Westfjords as well as the capital region.

The other two earthquakes measured at 5.4 and 5.6 and hit Saturday, shortly after 3 PM and just before 7:30 PM, respectively.

Godafoss waterfall in the summertime.
Godafoss Waterfall in North Iceland.

Might reach a magnitude of 7.0

Seismologist Ragnar Stefánsson says in an interview with Stöð 2 news, that the earthquakes seem to be moving away from mainland Iceland. However, he says that we could see larger quakes happen of over 6.0. 

The Icelandic Met office agrees and says that we might see an earthquake of a magnitude of 7.0 before all of this is over.

Video of the Earthquake

If you are wondering what life is like in North Iceland right now, you can watch this video the Icelandic Met Office posted on Facebook today. The video shows a house as the second biggest earthquake of the series hit it.

Take note of the cabinets and make sure to turn on the volume to hear the loud rumble which accompanies the quake. 

The house is in the Reykir village in Skagafjörður region, about 60 kilometres from the earthquake’s source.

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