Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering

pp 1-15

Date: Latest Version

Mechanisms of Earthquakes in Iceland

  • Páll EinarssonAffiliated withInstitute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland Email author 


Bookshelf faulting; Divergent plate boundaries; Hreppar microplate; Seismicity of Iceland; South Iceland Seismic Zone; Tjörnes fracture zone; Transform zones; Volcanic earthquakes


Most of the seismicity of Iceland is due to processes related to the mid-Atlantic plate boundary that crosses the country (Fig. 1). These processes include transform faulting, rifting, dike injection, inflation and deflation of magma chambers, cooling of magma bodies, and volume changes of geothermal fluids (Einarsson 1986, 1991, 2008; Sigmundsson 2006).
Fig. 1

Epicenters in Iceland and along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge system 1964–2004. Data are from the catalogs of the International Seismological Centre. Bathymetry is from General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (Modified from Sólnes et al. (2013) with help from Gunnar B. Guðmundsson at the Icelandic Meteorological Office)

South of Iceland the seismically active belt follows the axis of the Reykjanes Ridge, and north of the country it follows the ...

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