Earthquake shakes the southwest

31.07.2022 - 18:08
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A large earthquake of over Magnitude 5 shook southwest Iceland just before 18.00 this evening.

The quake was at a depth of two kilometres and its epicentre was three kilometres east-northeast of Grindavík, which is close to the site of last year's volcanic eruption.

Initial data suggested it was Magnitude 5.2 and closer to the capital city than to Grindavík. It was 30-times as powerful as the next-biggest quakes of the current swarm, which began yesterday lunchtime.

It was clearly felt on the Reykjanes peninsula, and in the capital region. It was also felt in Hella, where windows rattled and noticed as far away as Grundarfjörður on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

It was powerfully felt in Grindavík, and a cold water main to the town has been damaged by the moving ground. The above photo was taken in the Nettó store in Grindavík this evening.

Nearly 3,000 earthquakes have been recorded since yesterday lunchtime, including 50 over Magnitude 3 and four over M4. GPS data suggest the earthquake swarm is caused by the movement of magma below the ground.

A statement from the civil protection agency says that notifications of some damage have been received from Grindavík, but no injuries to people.

The civil protection agency yesterday declared an uncertainty phase due to the earthquakes, and a yellow aviation alert due to the possibility of an eruption. Residents are advised to secure loose items and be aware of heavy items that could fall -- especially over beds and sofas. Hikers on the Reykjanes peninsula should also steer clear of steep slopes, as there is an increased risk of falling rocks.

This article has been updated.

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Alexander Elliott
Fréttastofa RÚV