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Earthquake Warning Issued for Reykjavík

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Earthquake Warning Issued for Reykjavík

Lake Kleifarvatn

Lake Kleifarvatn. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Department for Civil Protection issued a warning on Friday that heightened seismic activity on Reykjanes peninsula, approximately 60 km (37 miles) southwest of Reykjavík, in the past weeks, may lead to an earthquake of up to 6.5 magnitude in the near future.

A 4.0 magnitude earthquake, which hit near Lake Kleifarvatn in late May, could widely be felt in the capital region. A 6.5 magnitude earthquake may cause minor damages to properties and cause rockfalls in caves and mountains, the press release points out.

“Analysis of earthquakes swarms indicates that instability may exist from Kleifarvatn and east to Ölfus. Measuring of movements in the earth’s crust in the past years also indicates that there may be tension in this area, which can lead to larger quakes.”

“Historical information indicates that earthquakes in this area can reach up to magnitude 6.5. Among other events, earthquakes around magnitude 6.0 hit in the Bláfjöll mountain area in 1929 and 1968. These quakes did not cause much damage in the capital region but it should be pointed out that houses have been built much closer to the seismically-active area in the past years.”

“It is to be expected that the impact of an earthquake of this magnitude in nearby communities (the capital region, Grindavík, Þorlákshöfn, Hveragerði and Reykjanesbær) will include that everyone can feel the earthquake, cause many people to be frightened and even evacuate buildings. Heavy furniture may shift and plastering on walls may crack in some places. Otherwise, not much damage is expected in well-built houses.”

The Department for Civil Protection recommends that each home and workplace is reviewed to limit danger in the case of an earthquake. Guidelines on preventive measures and how to respond during an earthquake can be found on the website almannavarnir.is and on YouTube.

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