Report on Reykjanes (Iceland) — 11 May-17 May 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
11 May-17 May 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Reykjanes (Iceland). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 May-17 May 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
63.817°N, 22.717°W; summit elev. 140 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police declared a level of “uncertainty” for the Reykjanes Peninsula on 15 May, noting that the declaration meant that responders and agencies were to review their preparedness plans in response to recent increases in seismicity and deformation. IMO raised the Aviation Color Code for Reykjanes to Yellow on 16 May, stating that more than 3,000 earthquakes had been detected near Eldvörp in the Reykjanes/Svartsengi volcanic system during the past week. Nine earthquakes above M 3 and two earthquakes above M 4 were recorded during 15-16 May; the largest event was a M 4.3 which was recorded at 1738 on 15 May. The earthquakes were located at depths of 4-6 km. GPS and InSAR data detected inflation W of Thorbjörn during the previous two weeks, likely caused by a magmatic intrusion at 4-5 km depth.
Geological Summary. The Reykjanes volcanic system at the SW tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level, comprises a broad area of postglacial basaltic crater rows and small shield volcanoes. The submarine Reykjaneshryggur volcanic system is contiguous with and is considered part of the Reykjanes volcanic system, which is the westernmost of a series of four closely-spaced en-echelon fissure systems that extend diagonally across the Reykjanes Peninsula. Most of the subaerial part of the system (also known as the Reykjanes/Svartsengi volcanic system) is covered by Holocene lavas. Subaerial eruptions have occurred in historical time during the 13th century at several locations on the NE-SW-trending fissure system, and numerous submarine eruptions dating back to the 12th century have been observed during historical time, some of which have formed ephemeral islands. Basaltic rocks of probable Holocene age have been recovered during dredging operations, and tephra deposits from earlier Holocene eruptions are preserved on the nearby Reykjanes Peninsula.