Dormant Iceland Volcano Erupts After Outbreak of Earthquakes

On Friday, March 19 2021, a volcano in Iceland erupted near Mount Fagradalsfjall. Thankfully, the eruption was small and resulted in no injuries.

“Mr. Einarsson said experts could not predict how the eruption would evolve, but the meteorological office said on Saturday that the volcanic activity had already decreased.”

From the New York Times article, “A Volcano Erupted in Iceland. Björk Was ‘Sooo Excited.’”

While it is one of the smallest eruptions ever seen on Iceland, it is significant because of the specific volcano. Specialists have not seen an eruption there in 800 years, so seeing even the slightest amount of activity is considered a big deal.

Iceland has a long history of volcanic activity with over 30 active volcanoes. Iceland extends across two tectonic plates, causing more frequent earthquakes and possible volcanic eruptions when magma pushes through the plates.

“The two tectonic plates are moving away from each other, and that movement has created the conditions for magma to come to the surface,” said Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a research professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland.

From the New York Times article, “In Iceland, 18,000 Earthquakes Over Days Signal Possible Eruption on the Horizon”

“The eruptive fissure is approximately 500-700 meters long according to the IMO with the lava area spanning less than one square kilometer.”

From the CNN article, “Iceland volcano remains hazardous after eruption near Reykjavík”

In the beginning of March, more than 18,000 earthquakes have shaken Iceland within one week. Although the earthquakes were weak, it is still surprising. At that time, research experts expected volcanoes to become more active, which they proved to be true. While the activity has decreased, it is still surprising to see activity in 800 years. This is because Iceland has more effusive eruptions that are calmer rather than explosive. Experts are also saying that the continuation of the activity is most likely going to stay harmless. When the volcano erupted on Friday, the airport did not even close. The worst outcome that happened during that eruption was increased traffic. The meteorological office predicts that the seismic activities could decrease, but the peninsula could expect more earthquakes up to 6.5 magnitude.

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