The Icelandic Met Office recorded a Magnitude 3.9 Earthquake at a depth of 8.9 km roughly 4.9 km to the southeast of the town of Hveragerði in Southern Iceland, at about 1.10 pm GMT on Friday 10 January 2020. This is not a large Earthquake, and there is no danger of any damage or casualties, but it is likely to have been felt locally.
The approximate location of the 10 January 2020 Southern Iceland Earthquake. Google Maps.
Iceland lies directly upon the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a chain of (mostly) submerged volcanoes running the length of the Atlantic Ocean along which the ocean is splitting apart, with new material forming at the fringes of the North American and European Plates beneath the sea (or, in Iceland, above it). The Atlantic is spreading at an average rate of 25 mm per year, with new seafloor being produced along the rift volcanically, i.e. by basaltic magma erupting from below. The ridge itself takes the form of a chain of volcanic mountains running the length of the ocean, fed by the upwelling of magma beneath the diverging plates. In places this produces volcanic activity above the waves, in the Azores, on Iceland and on Jan Mayen Island. All of this results in considerable Earth-movement beneath Iceland, where Earthquakes are a frequent event.
The passage of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge beneath Iceland. NOAA National Geophysical Data Center.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
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