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Iceland’s earthquake swarms are triggering concerns of imminent eruption

Iceland’s earthquake swarms are triggering concerns of imminent eruption

Magma movements are likely the cause of the current surge on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

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Over 18,000 earthquakes have shaken southwestern Iceland in the past two weeks, triggering concerns among scientists and officials that an eruption in the area is imminent.

The current earthquake swarm started on Feb. 24 with a 5.7-magnitude quake, the largest to date, and thousands of others have since followed. On Wednesday, more than 2,500 tremors were measured by the Icelandic Meteorological Office, followed by 800 more in the first hours of Thursday.

Geophysicists and volcanologists say the seismic activity on the island has intensified since December 2019. In October 2020, Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir had to briefly interrupt herself during a live interview as an earthquake was felt in the country. (“Well, this is Iceland,” Ms. Jakobsdottir said, before resuming.)

Similar tremors have been observed ahead of volcanic eruptions in the past, and the Icelandic Meteorological Office said that magma movements were a likely cause for the continuing activity. The agency has warned that an eruption could occur within days or weeks.

“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.

The aviation color code is at orange level, meaning there is “heightened unrest” and that there is an “increased likelihood of eruption.”

The good news is that if an eruption occurs, it is likely to be a relatively small fissure eruption in the area area between the volcanic peaks of Fagradalsfjall and Keilir.

The government said on its website that if there is an eruption, it’s expected to be a “relatively” small fissure eruption lasting up to a few weeks. These types of eruptions, the government said, entail a “slow flow” of lava rather than large explosions or significant ash.

The government has said there is “very low” risk to populated areas and critical infrastructure, and Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said the country is “extremely well prepared.”

“Iceland has highly trained, educated and experienced professionals in this area,” Jakobsdóttir said in a statement. “Most important, the Icelandic public is used to dealing calmly with many different types of natural events related to the weather or geology.”

Let’s hope the experts are right on this subject. Iceland’s infamous Laki Eruption of 1783 lasted eight months, killed most of the island’s livestock, caused crop failure and famine, and led to a real, significant change in global temperatures. The consequences were historic.

In the months after the eruption, a strange haze covered the sky above Europe, making breathing difficult. As the ash and gases from the eruption entered the high layers of the atmosphere, they absorbed moisture and sunlight, changing the climate for years to come.

From 1783 to 1785 accounts from both Japan and America describe terrible droughts, exceptional cold winters, and disastrous floods. In Europe, the exceptionally hot summer of 1783 was followed by long and harsh winters. The resulting crop failures may have triggered one of the most famous insurrections of starving people in history, the French Revolution of 1789-1799.

Here is one of my favorite episodes of “How the Earth Was Made” for those of you who would like to explore this topic further.

As for myself, I am thrilled I was able to visit in 2019. Iceland is breathtaking in so many ways.


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Can we send Fauci there? Forever?

As if the names of cities and towns already difficult enough to pronounce. All of these quakes are certain to jumble the letters even more. Who knows how Fagradalsfjall will be spelled or pronounced when this is over. It started out as Falmouth.

This calls for major observation

JusticeDelivered | March 7, 2021 at 3:11 pm

Those consequences affected the whole world for many years. Lets hope it is another slow flow of magma.

Pearl-clutching progs attribute this to “climate change” in 3….2….1….

    mark311 in reply to Paul. | March 7, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    I could be wrong but I doubt it. It’s a geological mechanism and thus not related to a weather system. Therefore it would be difficult to make a case for a link to climate change. Just a natural cycle as far as anyone can tell.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to mark311. | March 7, 2021 at 3:54 pm

      The warmer crowd have blamed sunspot activiy / lack of it on global warming, so, why not blame it for this?

          Interesting link thank you, I’ve not delved into that aspect before. Never occurred to me it could be linked. Something to read about for another day.

          OMG he’s taking it seriously.

          Actually, the receding glaciers could potentially contribute to some climate changes. Keep in mind that glacial ice is heavy and that many volcanoes are big piles of loose rock. The weight of the ice presses down on the rocks and seals up the gaps and thus contains gases which might otherwise seep through. Over the last few decades there has been less ice on the cascades and I can tell you from personal experience that they are way smellier now. So here is what could be seen as a positive feedback mechanism. What we don’t know though is whether the magnitude of the increased emissions means dick in the overall scheme of things, and, we don’t know when and where the glaciers began a pattern of recession. Showing pictures from 1900 to 2000 doesn’t mean anything because there may have been similar or larger changes from 1800-1900 where man’s involvement was insignificant. Environmentalists are incapable of thinking on a geological time frame. One can argue also about thinking in general. If one can find it, there is a great documentary called “Draining the Great Lakes” where they use side scanning radar to paint a picture of the bottom of the Great Lakes, which it seems have periodically raised and lowered a number of times over the last 10,000 years, all without the involvement of man!

        I think you might have that the wrong way around Friendly Grizzly.

          Milhouse in reply to mark311. | March 8, 2021 at 10:03 pm

          No. You’d think so, but unfortunately he doesn’t.

          mark311 in reply to mark311. | March 9, 2021 at 9:41 am


          Yes I take any science article seriously, it presented an argument which you haven’t. Unlike you I revised my opinion based on a presented argument that’s convincing.

          With regard to sunspot activity I am absolutely sure that our climate doesn’t affect solar activity as stated.

      “Just a natural cycle as far as anyone can tell.”

      Like the natural cycles of the climate that have been recorded for billions of years? But are only now deemed a threat to humanity and created by humanity and (best of all) ‘solvable’ by humanity? Bwahaahaa!

      “I’m pretty sure that if we just tax people more for something carbon-related, like a dollar for every exhale!, those earthquakes will stop in their tracks and the volcanoes will cease their path to eruption. Or whatever. The key is moar taxes and wealth-spreading, moar control over every aspect of people’s lives, and moar civilization-destroying for the little people.” /signed eco-fascist loon

        mark311 in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | March 7, 2021 at 9:56 pm

        If your argument is that climate change is just due to natural cycles then the science doesn’t support your position at all. I’ve sent you numerous credible links to why that’s the case. I’ve had nothing in response to support your position.

          Yes, part of my argument is indeed that the freaking climate changes. That’s why your eco-fasicist cohorts decided to change the lingo from the new ice age to the new global warming catastrophe to the now all-encompassing “climate change.” Well, yeah, the climate changes, now go out there and show me how you can stop any climate-related activity. Tax the rich enough to stop hurricanes, clearly the direct result of humanity (though, we have some inconvenient data about hurricanes just kind of happening at the same rate as ever).

          Look, you can link your crap all day long, but here’s the problem that eco-crapologists and eco-crapjournalists share: no one gives a single crap what they or you chirp.

          mark311 in reply to mark311. | March 7, 2021 at 10:38 pm

          You should care because it’ll affect you as well.

          Your argument is problematic firstly the new ice age lingo as you use was in relation to Chemicals like CFC’s which caused a hole in the ozone layer. That was dealt with by banning said chemicals. In other words that’s a well understood process which was solved.

          The second part of your comment relates to what we can do to mitigate and prevent human induced climate change. The answer is actually quite a bit but sure if we wait to long or don’t act fast enough then yeah it could be a real problem.

          With regard to your specific comment about hurricanes yeah sure they have been consistent in terms of numbers but there is evidence that the strength of hurricanes has increased. But to be honest that’s a strawman it doesn’t change the overall picture at all which is that the temperatures is rising year on year and there is an abundance of evidence for the consequences all around.

          The links I’ve sent are scientific articles, from knowledgeable sources with extensive data sets. So basically you are ignoring the science and jumping to a conclusion.

          Milhouse in reply to mark311. | March 8, 2021 at 10:22 pm

          You should care because it’ll affect you as well.

          No, it won’t. You don’t seem to understand that the reason, as Fuzzy put it, that we don’t give a crap what eco-crapologists and eco-crapjournalists chirp, is that we don’t believe them. They have long ago blown both their credibility and any right they may have had to a presumption of good faith. After the displays of outright dishonesty by the likes of Michael Mann, James Hansen, and the East Anglia crew, we are not likely to believe then even if they say something completely plausible. So linking to their voluminous publications is like linking to the publications of homeopaths, astrologers, or anti-vaxxers. In other words, we hold them in the same contempt that they hold us, but (we think) we have more cause than they do.

          mark311 in reply to mark311. | March 9, 2021 at 11:19 am

          @ Milhouse

          SO you find scientists which produce peer reviewed papers in contempt. I assume you are referring to the Email ‘scandal’ that happened a number of years ago. Which if memory serves a gross misrepresentation of what was actually said. Nor does that present any actual argument against the data.

          Comparing the climate science community with the mountains of peer reviewed papers, numerous sub disciplines with huge data sets and consistent modelling of global temperatures and comparing them to anti vaxers is not really realistic.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | March 9, 2021 at 1:28 am

        I just recently re-read Donald Johanson’s Lucy’s Legacy. In the book, he describes a current dig in a seaside cave in South Africa. The particular cave was selected because it is high enough in its seaside cliff that it would have been undisturbed by the sea 123,000 years ago when sea level was 15 meters higher than it is today.

        Imagine that. At a time when H. sapiens was just getting established, with no fossil fuels, and no anthropogenic warming, sea levels were 15 meters higher than they are at present. How did that happen? “Climate change” calamity mongers are worried about a few centimeters of rise over the next 100 years. (Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last glacial period, with the exception of the time of the Little Ice Age. We are in an interglacial period. It had better be warming.)

          mark311 in reply to DaveGinOly. | March 9, 2021 at 11:27 am

          That’s problematic when you consider that large areas of human activity have expanded into areas which occupy zones affected by the potential sea rise being predicted. Not does it help answer the other questions relating to consequences on increased propensity for drought, hurricane severity, habitat loss, oceanic deoxygenation, ocean acidification, increased severity of wildfires, loss of biodiversity, feedback consequences from changes in climate systems, which could exacerbate temperature rises.

          More regional effects are listed as follows for the US:

          “Northeast. Heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.

          Northwest. Changes in the timing of streamflow reduce water supplies for competing demands. Sea level rise, erosion, inundation, risks to infrastructure and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats. Increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks and tree diseases are causing widespread tree die-off.

          Southeast. Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts.

          Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes.

          Southwest. Increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires. Declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns.”

          Its pretty short-sighted to cite a pre historic sea level on what the impacts might be on us in the present.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Paul. | March 7, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Volcanos drive climate change, not the other way around.

      MajorWood in reply to JusticeDelivered. | March 9, 2021 at 11:52 am

      The Humboldt pretty much drives the weather in North America. Warm it up a couple of degrees and it shifts the Jet Stream northward where it has less impact, but cool it down and the jet Stream then crosses over Arkansas rather than Iowa and we see a bunch of F-5 tornados because the cold air interacts with the Gulf air while the latter still has a lot more thermal energy.

      Again, nothing to do with man.

      And peer review means nothing when the entire field becomes whores for .gov funding. Lysenko is very much alive in spirit in a number of disciplines. Who knows, maybe he was even reincarnated as Faucci.

        mark311 in reply to MajorWood. | March 12, 2021 at 9:45 am

        Well given the changes in weather patterns in the arctic caused the Texas cold weather issues that’s demonstrably wrong. You seem to have simplified North American climate pretty drastically. Its pretty easy to point to a number of contemporaneous events that show an impact by climate change on North America.

        Peer reviewed papers are almost the gold standard (below meta analysis). Ad hominem attacks on them without any contrary evidential base is unreasonable to say the least.

I’m so old I remember watching Krakatoa East of Java at the drive in theater. It was a disaster. I hope everyone is okay in Iceland.

The people of Iceland are pretty cool. I worked with a guy, August, who has a PhD in Electrical Engineering. He said that the Icelanders believe gnomes exist. Like for real. August was one of the gentlest and happiest people I have ever had the pleasure to work with, and he convinced me that – at least in Iceland – gnomes are real.