Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Geology

Sharp earthquake swarm west of Langjökull glacier, West Iceland

By Staff

  • Langjökull glacier The second largest glacier in Iceland has been trembling today. Photo/Vísir.

An unusual and sharp earthquake swarm was detected west of Langjökull glacier earlier today. One of the quakes was a relatively powerful 3.1 magnitude quake. The area is known for seismic activity and although earthquakes of this magnitude are nowhere nearly as common around Langjökull than in the more active volcanic regions. The quakes were felt clearly by travellers who were participating in glacier hikes at the time.

Langjökull tremors 28.9.17

Langjökull tremors The epicenters of today's quakes. Photo/IMO

The earthquake swarm began early morning at half past three. Since then nearly two dozen quakes have been detected west of Langjökull. The first powerful quake, a 2.8 magnitude tremor, was detected at 10:06. This quake was followed by a second powerful 3.1 magnitude quake an hour later. The swarm has yet to die down.

According to the seismic monitoring system of the Icelandic Meteorological Office the epicenter of the quakes is 10-15 km (6-9.6 mi) east or south east of Húsafell. 

Read more: Why the constant earthquakes? Iceland is slowly being torn apart

According to a guide with the travel company Into the Glacier, who spoke to the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, the tremors were felt by both guides and travellers who were on the glacier. The company, which takes travellers on glacier hikes and tours of the Langjökull Ice Tunnel, has a base at the glacier's edge. Guides who were at the base, a wooden hut, when the earthquakes hit felt it very clearly: "We heard deep rumbles and powerful tremors. Perhaps three or four seconds of shaking. Light, nothing terrifying, but it was very clear. It felt as if a truck had driven through." 

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