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Earthquake swarm ongoing northeast of Grímsey island – Tjörnes Fracture Zone, Iceland

tjornes fracture zone earthquakes september 2022

More than 6 400 earthquakes have been detected in the Tjörnes Fracture Zone, northern Iceland since the start of September.  The area in question is a known earthquake zone and there was a similar earthquake in the area in 2018. The last eruption there took place in 1867/68.

Seismic activity in the region increased again around midnight (UTC), September 12, 2022, after calming somewhat down on September 11.1

Over 6 400 earthquakes have been detected and the largest earthquake detected was a M4.9 on September 8 at 04:01 UTC.

The largest earthquakes have been felt widely in the north of Iceland.

tjornes fracture zone earthquakes -48 hours to 2135z september 12 2022

The National Police Commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Police in the North East, has declared the level of public safety uncertainty on September 9.2

The uncertainty level of civil protection means that there is increased monitoring of a scenario that, at a later stage, could lead to a threat to the health and safety of people, the environment, or the settlements. Declaring a level of uncertainty is part of the civil defense organization’s procedures to ensure formal communication and information sharing between responders.

The Public Safety Department of the National Police Commissioner and the Police Chief in the North East encourage people who live in known earthquake areas to take appropriate measures for earthquakes. 

Geological summary

The offshore Tjörnes Fracture Zone is an oblique transform zone that separates the northern volcanic zone of Iceland from the Kolbeinsey Ridge, part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge north of Iceland.

A submarine eruption was reported during 1867-1868 at the SE part of the fissure system off the northern coast of Iceland along the Manareyjar Ridge immediately north of Manareyjar Island.3

References:

1 Specialist remark – IMO – Released at 16:58 UTC on September 12, 2022

2 The level of uncertainty of the Civil Defense due to the earthquake in the North – Icelandic Civil Defence – September 9, 2022

3 Tjörnes Fracture Zone – Geological summary – GVP

Featured image credit: IMO

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