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It's a little hard to believe, but Iceland has experienced 18,000 earthquakes in the space of a week. Most of them have been too small to feel. The largest quake was on February 24 and was a magnitude 5.6. The seismic activity suggests that a volcano in the southwest of Iceland may be about to erupt. Volcanoes in southwestern Iceland have been dormant for over 800 years, but seismologists believe an eruption could be imminent. Iceland is a volcanic island and is used to the occasional tremor. However, swarms of quakes have unsettled residents in the capital city Reykjavik. Scientists say despite the large number of quakes, there has been very little damage.



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Iceland is situated on top of the meeting of tectonic plates deep in the earth. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust around 100km thick on which Earth's land mass sits. The plates below Iceland are continually splitting apart and pushing North America and Eurasia away from each other at an infinitesimally slow rate. Living on a tectonic plate means seismic activity is inevitable. One Reykjavik resident spoke about his anxiety caused by the 18,000 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."

Sources:

  • https://nbc-2.com/news/national-world/2021/03/04/iceland-hit-with-17000-earthquakes-in-the-past-week-a-volcanic-eruption-could-be-near1/
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/04/world/europe/earthquakes-eruption-iceland.html
  • https://people.com/human-interest/iceland-18000-earthquakes-last-week-signaling-potential-eruption/

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