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Iceland has been hit by 18,000 earthquakes in just over a week



Some scientists believe a volcanic eruption could be imminent.

(Asian News Hub) – The country of Iceland has been hit with an unexpected string of thousands of earthquakes over the past week.

The tremors have ranged widely in scale, most only lasting a few seconds with the most intense event recorded at a 5.7 magnitude.

Residents of the country’s capital, Reykjavík, have been concerned about the possibility of an impending volcanic eruption on the island.

Most of us already know that there are certain areas of the world more prone to earthquakes than others, and that residents of those places such as Southern California, Indonesia and parts of China, are pretty used to it at this point. One such area that’s accustomed to the occasional tremor is the small island nation of Iceland. 

There, earthquakes are common due to the country straddling two of the Earth’s tectonic plates, both the North American and Eurasian plates. They remain divided by an undersea mountain chain called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which oozes molten hot rock from deep inside the Earth.

Despite earthquakes being a common occurrence in Iceland, the country wasn’t prepared for the events of the past week, which included a mind boggling 18,000 earthquakes that hit the island in the span of about a week. The earthquake swarm began on Feb. 24 with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake, the largest to date, and was followed by thousands of smaller ones.

“I have experienced earthquakes before but never so many in a row,” Reykjavik resident Auður Alfa Ólafsdóttir told CNN. “It is very unusual to feel the Earth shake 24 hours a day for a whole week. It makes you feel very small and powerless against nature.”

What scientists have to say

Geophysicists and volcanologists say the seismic activity on the island has been intensifying since December 2019, and though volcanoes in southwestern Iceland have remained quiet for some 800 years, they said that period of rest may finally be coming to an end.

Experts assert that the intense string of earthquakes are the culmination of over a year of intense seismic activity, and that similar tremors have been observed ahead of volcanic eruptions in the past. The Icelandic Meteorological Office told The New York Times that magma movements were a likely cause for the quakes, and the agency warned that an eruption could occur within days or weeks.

“The two tectonic plates are moving away from each other, and that movement has created the conditions for magma to come to the surface,” Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a research professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland, told The New York Times.

Iceland has about 30 active volcanoes, but volcanologists have attempted to ease citizen fear over an impending eruption, saying that one in Reykjanes won’t actually threaten inhabited areas on the peninsula. 

Icelanders can’t be blamed for worrying, though, considering the catastrophic eruptions of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull back in 2010. Releasing wide ranging plumes of black ash into the sky, the event was so intense that it caused one of the most significant air-traffic interruptions in decades. 

“Of course it worries people,” Þorvaldur Þórðarson, a professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, told CNN. “For this region, this is actually fairly unusual, not because of the type of earthquakes or their intensity, but for their duration. It’s been going for more than a week now.”

Experts have said that the most damage expected from the possibly impending eruption includes powerline damage, and the road connecting the capitol, Reykjavík, to the airport could be impacted. 

“The magma composition here is very different, the intensity of explosive activity would be significantly less,” Þórðarson assures.

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Afghanistan: 37 killed, over 70 injured as blast hits Shia mosque in Kandahar



(Asian News Hub) – Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, Associated Press reported quoting hospital official and an eyewitness.

The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Also Read: Amit Shah warns Pakistan, refers to surgical strike

Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

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At least 20 killed, over 300 injured in an earthquake in Pakistan



(Asian News Hub) – At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province early on Thursday, October 7, 2021, according to PTI quoting media reports.

Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.

According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.

The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.

Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported.

Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.

The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.

According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.

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World surpasses 5M COVID-19 deaths



(Asian News Hub) – The coronavirus death toll around the world surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to Reuters’s tally.

Around the world, an average of 8,000 deaths a day were reported, according to the outlet. However, it noted that the global death rate has slowed in recent weeks.

Reuters reported that it took over a year to accumulate 2.5 million deaths, but it took under eight months to accumulate the second 2.5 million deaths.

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