Quake rocks Iceland near major volcano

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake rocked southern Iceland near the Hekla volcano, with tremors felt in the capital Reykjavik some 110km away, the country's meteorological office said.

FILE: No damage or injuries were reported in the sparsely populated area, police said. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

REYKJAVIK - A 5.2 magnitude earthquake rocked southern Iceland on Thursday near the Hekla volcano, with tremors felt in the capital Reykjavik some 110km away, the country's meteorological office said.

The epicentre of the quake, which occurred at 1:21 pm (13:21 GMT), was located at Vatnafjoll, a mountain range located on a fissure zone near the larger Hekla volcano which is part of the same volcanic system.

"The earthquake was felt widely in southern Iceland and the capital area," the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a statement.

No damage or injuries were reported in the sparsely populated area, police said.

Geophysicist Pall Einarsson told public television RUV that the quake and its many aftershocks were not caused by magma movements and were not a sign of an impending volcanic eruption.

At 1,491 metres, Hekla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes with its latest eruption dating back to 2000.

Thursday's quake was "most likely caused by plate motion and not volcanic deformation," Kristin Jonsdottir, IMO earthquake hazards coordinator, added on Twitter.

A 5.7 tremor shook southwestern Iceland at the end of February, just weeks before a volcano began erupting near Mount Fagradalsfjall on 19 March 2021.

After spewing lava for six months, the magma stopped flowing in mid-September but it is still too early to say whether the volcanic activity has officially ended, according to vulcanologists.

Iceland is Europe's biggest and most active volcanic region.

The vast North Atlantic island borders the Arctic Circle where it straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack on the ocean floor separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.