The earthquake swarm which began off Reykjanes peninsula in Southwest Iceland on Tuesday evening appears to be dying down; seismicity dropped last night and this morning. Around 500 earthquakes have been picked up by sensors, the largest of which measured 5.0 magnitude.
Representatives of the Department of Civil Protection met with scientists of the Icelandic Met Office because of the earthquakes yesterday.
Due to heightened activity in volcano Eldey off shore, the level for air traffic was raised to code yellow as a precautionary measure.
University of Iceland Professor in Petrology and Volcanology Þorvaldur Þórðarson said on RÚV’s radio program Morgunútgáfan this morning that activity is common in the area.
He believes there is reason to monitor the situation closely as seismicity in one place can lead to activity in another, mentioning the 1783 Laki eruption as an example. “Then there was unrest off Reykjanes which ended with an eruption and several weeks later the Laki eruption began.”
However, he pointed out that the two locations aren’t interconnected and that there are no signs that an eruption has started or is about to start in Eldey.
“If there will be an eruption [in Eldey] it could turn out to be a phreatic eruption and create a volcanic plume and ash cloud. It’s not far from Keflavík International Airport so if it would happen, it would probably affect air traffic,” Þorvaldur concluded.