The Icelandic Meteorological Office has recorded more than 18,000 earthquakes occurring in the past week. The Icelandic authorities have warned that a volcanic eruption could be imminent in the next days and weeks.
According to MailOnline, Iceland experienced about 2,500 earthquakes on Wednesday, March 3, and about 800 earthquakes since midnight on Thursday, March 4.
Authorities said that the seismic activity centered around Reykjanes Peninsula, the southwest region of Iceland south of capital Reykjavík.
The largest earthquake they recorded was a magnitude 5.6 on the Richter scale, which can damage weak structures. This happened on February 24 in the nearby capital city of Reykjavík and the municipalities around it where two-thirds of the country's population live.
Icelandic authorities said that the reason for the unrest is still unclear but said that it might be due to an intrusion of magma into the Earth's crust.
Unsettling Earthquakes in Iceland
Despite its numbers, the earthquakes from the past week caused little damage with the Road and Coastal Administration of Iceland reported some small cracks in roads and rockfalls on steep slopes near the epicenter.
Reykjavik resident Auður Alfa ólafsdóttir told CNN that the earthquakes in the past week were unusual. "It is very unusual to feel the Earth shake 24 hours a day for a whole week. It makes you feel very small and powerless against nature," he said.
Residents in the fishing town of Grindavik had a front-row seat to the tremors who also said the same thing as ólafsdóttir. They claim that the earthquakes were unlike the ones they usually experience.
According to Páll Valur Björnsson, who teaches at the local College of Fisheries and sits as a deputy member of Parliament, that they were used to the tremors but the earthquakes recently were becoming very unsettling. He noted that he would wake up sometimes twice at night due to these tremors.
Despite feeling uncomfortable with the tremors, the residents said that they are learning to live with it.
Earthquakes Culminate Year-Long Instese Seismic Activity
For 800 years, the volcanos in southwestern Iceland have been quiet. But that would seem to change due to the swarm of earthquakes last week.
Experts in the field, such as geophysicists and volcanologists, said that the earthquakes were a culmination of the year-long intense seismic activity that has rattled residents in the capital, just 20 miles north of Reykjanes Peninsula where earthquakes have occurred.
According to The New York Times, earthquakes are common in Iceland because it straddles two of the tectonic plates on the planet: the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. These were divided by an undersea mountain chain known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
It oozes molten hot rock or magma, while deeper in the Earth, it spreads apart the plates and causes earthquakes on the island.
Experts noted that the tremors from 2019 have intensified since then. The country has also experienced tremors in the past that led to volcanic eruptions, which the Icelandic Meteorological Office connected to magma movements beneath the Earth's surface.
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