Iceland earthquake swarm (Grimsey area) – 484 earthquakes in less than 48 hours

Last update: April 2, 2013 at 10:45 pm by By

Update 10:49 UTC : The swarm continues and the most recently listed earthquakes had a Magnitude of M4.3 and M4.2. The number of earthquakes during the last 48 hours has risen to 484 ! The hypocenter depth is mainly varying in 3 layers, one at only a few hundred meter, another at 1.1 km and the last one at 20 km.
Most of the epicenters are located in an area of 15 to 30 km from Grimsey.
There have been earthquakes cycles of a similar nature in 1969, 1974, 1980, 1986, 1994 and 2002. The cycles were all from a few days up to several weeks.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 00.24.13

Update 10:49 UTC : We have added a Google Earth screenshot to the image series. This Google earth image shows very clearly the many volcanic bubbles at the ocean floor, a result of the separating diverging plates. The 2 tectonic plates are pullling away from each other  (left plate to the West, right plate to the East. This kind of phenomenon is also occurring in the Oceans all over the world. New life (in other words new magma) is added this way to the tectonic plates. The plates are melting away again below ie. the deep trenches of the Pacific Ocean.

Update 10:12 UTC : The Icelandic seismological Bureau wrote : At 00:59 an earthquake about 5.5 occurred, 15 km east of Grímsey. the earthquake was felt in substantial part of central north Iceland. Following the this event at 1:13 another earthquake 4,3 was observed 16 km east of Grímsey and at 08:55 an earthquake 4,7 at same location. Substantial aftershock activity has been observed and still continues. More activity can be expected.

This earthquake is part of a strong swarm at a well know location in the Ocean. The location of the swarm is a relatively shallow ridge area (the zigzagging ridge creates the transform-like earthquakes) . A ridge is a location where 2 tectonic plates are pulling away from each other. Fresh magma will have an easier job to reach the seabed and hot volcanic vents are often found on these locations. A new island in such an area is almost a certainty in the geological future. A pity that there are no permanent ROV’s in this location, we might see some submarine fireworks!
At the time of writing this article, we have counted 314 earthquakes in less than 48 hours!
The video below (an animation to show what happens in the Gulf of California) are showing the same tectonic movement.

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 12.13.23

Image courtesy vedur.is

Image courtesy vedur.is

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 11.58.35

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 12.48.02

50km (31mi) N of Husavik, Iceland
93km (58mi) NNE of Akureyri, Iceland
332km (206mi) NE of Reykjavik, Iceland
334km (208mi) NE of Kopavogur, Iceland
339km (211mi) NE of Hafnarfjordur, Iceland

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 4.7

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-04-02 08:55:55

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-04-02 08:55:55

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 10 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

Share your earthquake experience (I Have Felt It) with our readers.
Click on the “I Felt It” button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 23:26 3.7 1 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 23:13 3.9 11 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 23:05 4.4 2 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Iceland Region Apr 02 22:52 4.3 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 22:52 4.3 2 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 22:28 3.3 1 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 22:09 4.2 1 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 22:07 4.3 22 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 21:59 3.3 18 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 21:44 3.4 12 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 20:27 3.7 18 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 13:38 3.3 17 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 11:24 3.3 11 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 10:10 3.7 8 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 09:04 3.8 10 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Iceland Region Apr 02 08:55 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 08:55 4.7 2 MAP I Felt It
USGS Iceland Region Apr 02 08:55 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 08:42 3.9 6 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 05:48 3.4 18 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 05:04 3.3 17 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 01:13 4.1 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Iceland Region Apr 02 01:13 4.2 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Iceland Region Apr 02 00:59 5.3 10 MAP I Felt It
  • Husavik - Woke up my bed was shaking
  • Akureyri - Awoken by bed shaking!
  • GEOFON Iceland Region Apr 02 00:59 5.3 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
    EMSC Iceland Region Apr 02 00:59 5.2 2 MAP I Felt It


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    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    People
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
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