A magma run has started: around 150 earthquakes detected

A lot of magma has accumulated under Svartsengi and it …

A lot of magma has accumulated under Svartsengi and it is on the move. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

A magma run has begun at the Sundhnúkagígar crater row, where about 150 earthquakes have been measured in a series of earthquakes between Mt Sýlingarfell and Mt Stóra-Skógafell in the last two hours.

Lovísa Mjöll Guðmunds­dóttir, a natural-hazard specialist at the Icelandic Met Office, confirms this to mbl.is.

“There hasn’t been an eruption yet. We are continuing to monitor the situation. There are still tremors going in and unrest that is monitored on our meters,” she says, adding that the Icelandic Met Office is continuing to monitor developments.

The question is whether the magma reaches the surface

“There is some movement of magma, but it’s just a question of whether it will reach the surface in this event,” Guðmundsdóttir added.

She says that everything indicates that the seismic activity is due to a magma run. Most of the earthquakes in the area are around magnitude 1 or smaller, although very few have also been measured above magnitude 1.5.

Until now, 20 million cubic meters of magma had accumulated in the magma reservoir under Svartsengi from March 16, when the last eruption began. The Icelandic Met Office declared the last eruption to have ended on May 9. It lasted 54 days.

The helicopter of the Icelandic Coast Guard is in a stand-by position.

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