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Land Rising Again Near Volcano Þorbjörn, But No Volcanic Unrest

Land rise has begun again in the near surroundings of volcano Þorbjörn near Grindavík. As of yet, there are no imminent signs of volcanic unrest. This follows an earthquake that rattled the Reykjanes peninsula on March 12.

Meteorologists have kept a keen eye on the area following initial land rise early in the year, which had slowed down in February. The land rise now is happening at a slower pace than the original land rise in January, but it is rising in the same area as the initial rise. The science council of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management will meet to discuss the matter next week.

Eruption not imminent

Results from crust measurements have been clarified in the last couple of days. It’s now clear that expansions that cause land rise has begun anew in the area surrounding Þorbjörn. This is confirmed both by GPS measurements in the area as well as satellite data. Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office, The Institute of Earth Sciences of the University Iceland as well from the Iceland GeoSurvey, met this morning to analyse the newest measurements and data.

“The land rise this time around seems to be quite slow, considerably slower than in January. 20mm is really quite a small land rise and it is difficult to analyse such small changes with the technology at hand. In such cases, we need to collect data for several days to confirm that land rise has taken, or is taking place,” said Benedikt Gunnar Ófeigsson, a meteorologist at the Icelandic Met Office.

“Even though we’re seeing signs of land rise beginning again, it does not mean that the course of events surrounding Þorbjörn is catching speed, nor that an eruption will begin soon. It’s a known quantity for magma to gather for a long time, months, even years before it comes to an eruption,” said Kristín Jónsdóttir, a project manager at the natural disaster shift at the Icelandic Met Office. “Events, like we’re witnessing in the Reykjanes peninsula, can take quite a long time and differentiate, as volcanic activity dies down for a short time without it being fully over.”

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