Most likely earthquakes stop without eruptions

Most likely earthquakes stop without eruptions

Although the current earthquake cycle in Iceland could lead to an eruption, all available data show that the earthquakes are much more likely to eventually end without magma reaching the surface, Indicator reports. Researchers are nevertheless exploring possible scenarios of what might happen if that happens.

Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, professor of geology at the University of Iceland, told reporters that although the eruption is not off the table, in most cases like the current one, the earthquake simply stops without magma ever breaking the surface.

Satellite images have shown that in the area where most of these earthquakes have been located – in the center of Reykjanes – part of the country is rising slightly, while another part adjacent to it is sinking slightly. Magnús says that this is probably due to the magma intrusion which is probably happening deep below the surface and contributes to the bending of the tectonic plates that meet in this area.

That said, if the magma reaches the surface, it is unlikely to be a spectacular eruption in lava and ash, but a fissure opening, where lava is poured from a fissure made on the earth’s surface. Researchers at the University of Iceland are currently investigating what the eruption might look like.

Most likely earthquakes stop without eruptions
Most likely earthquakes stop without eruptions

The above images, created by these scientists, show where lava flows are most likely and unlikely to occur if an eruption occurs. As can be seen, if an eruption is unlikely to occur, lava flows will most likely be confined to the center of the Reykjanes area. This does not cover residential areas or important infrastructure.

But in the worst case, this lava flow could reach the main highway that connects Keflavík Airport and the capital area. Given how unlikely an eruption is already and how extra unlikely lava that reaches so far, there is still little reason to draw attention. As Magnús Tumi points out, Reykjanes is an active area, even for Iceland, but devastating eruptions have not been recorded in this area in Icelandic history.

Which is not to say that an eruption in the area was completely harmless. As Kristín Jónsdóttir from the University of Iceland reported RÚVvolcanic eruptions could create significant gas pollution for the capital area. Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson agreed with this feeling and added that there could be some ash from such an eruption as well.

As the situation is now have been 52 earthquakes in the area, from midnight last night until this writing, with a magnitude greater than 3. All told, there have been over 14,000 earthquakes of various magnitudes since the quakes began last week.

Source: The Nordic Page


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