Unbelievably, Iceland has had 18,000 earthquakes in the space of a week. Most were too small to feel. The largest quake was a magnitude 5.6. This seismic activity suggests that a volcano in the southwest of Iceland may erupt soon. Volcanoes in that area have been dormant for over 800 years, but seismologists believe an eruption could be imminent. Iceland is a volcanic island and is used to tremors. However, the recent quakes have unsettled residents in the capital city Reykjavik. Scientists say despite the large number of quakes, there has been little damage.
Iceland is situated on top of tectonic plates that are deep in the earth. These are pieces of Earth's crust around 100km thick. Earth's land mass sits on them. The plates below Iceland are splitting apart and pushing North America and Eurasia away from each other. One Reykjavik resident spoke about his anxiety caused by the recent quakes. He said: "I have experienced earthquakes before, but never so many in a row. It is very unusual to feel the Earth shake 24 hours a day for a whole week. It makes you feel very small and powerless against nature."