Around 3,000 tremors have hit Iceland in the past three days, the country’s meteorological service (IMO) has said as officials warn that the Grimsvotn volcano is at risk of erupting. The tremors have been caused by three earthquakes – each one with a magnitude of more than five – that struck the northern coast over the weekend, according to the IMO. One of the quakes was felt in the capital Reykjavik, located about 265km (165 miles) away from the epicentre, off the coast of Siglufjordur – a small village of around 1,200 people.
No major injuries or damage have been reported but some landslides and rockfalls have been observed in the area. “Compared to previous earthquake swarms in the area it is expected that this swarm will continue during the coming days,” Iceland’s government institution said. “But in most cases activity like this ends without a larger event.”
The cluster of earthquakes and tremors comes after authorities warned last week that Grimsvotn, the country’s most active volcano, could erupt soon after scientists recorded high levels of sulphur dioxide at the site. IMO said glacial floods caused by the tremors could cause an eruption. “The possibility of an eruption triggered by a glacial flood, which could occur in the coming weeks or months, has to be considered,” the institute said.
This indicates the presence of so-called shallow magma – a sign that a volcano may be close to erupting. Grimsvotn last erupted in 2011, sending clouds of thick ash into the atmosphere, leading Iceland to temporarily close its airspace. Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in April 2010, an event that grounded thousands flights across Europe for six days, amid fears that the ash could damage jet engines. Scientists have said that the effects of a possible Grimsvotn eruption would be less dramatic than that of Eyjafjallajokull. –The Independent UK