Larger quakes “cannot be ruled out”
The earthquake swarm that started yesterday morning has stretched over a 20 km long area, but not yet as far east as Brennisteinsfjöll and Bláfjöll. There could be two explanations for this: one is that tension in the crust has not built up there, and the other is that the crust is under tension but is in a ‘locked position’.
“[The pressure] simply cannot break there except with very powerful earthquakes, and it is this scenario that we cannot rule out. That there will be a quake of 6 or 6.5 in that area. That is both more than we experienced today and also nearer to the capital region,” Kristín Jónsdóttir, natural disasters expert at the Met Office, told RÚV last night. “Both 1968, when the Brennisteinsfjöll earthquake was, and also in 1929, both those quakes came about a year after the swarm started. There has now been activity for a whole year and so there’s the question: is the system going to behave the same way?”
The ground continues to shake
Between midnight and 07.00 this morning, Met Office seismometers have recorded 242 earthquakes on the Reykjanes peninsula. 20 were of a magnitude greater than 2, and two were over 3. A total of 57 quakes over Magnitude 3 have occurred since 10.00 yesterday morning.
By lucky (or maybe spooky) coincidence, the children of Fífuborg pre-school in Grafarvogur had just finished their annual earthquake response drill when the ground started to shake.
“We always have an earthquake drill once a year and just had it this morning, right before the quake struck,” pre-school head Helga Sigurðardóttir told RÚV yesterday morning.
Helga was quick to add that, of course, the children and staff reacted correctly to the situation—though the younger children who were getting ready to go out to play totally missed the earthquake in their excitement. The children in classrooms did feel it, however.