Predicting Iceland's earthquakes



A research project involving seismologists from the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) started recently. The long-term project goal is to reduce earthquake losses and strengthen the physical basis for earthquake prediction.

The project originated in the Council of Europe. In a resolution passed in 1980, the council stressed the importance of concentrating earthquake prediction research in five test areas in Europe, one of which was the South Iceland Seismic Zone (see Figure 1). The resolution led to discussion among Nordic seismologists on cooperative work in the Icelandic test area. They agreed that an appropriate first step would be to establish a digital data acquisition system around which geophysical monitoring and other experiments could be designed. A proposal for a 5 – 6-year project, which was submitted to the Nordic Council and the Council of Nordic Ministers, was approved in 1987. The participants are planning a data acquisition system and geophysical experiments that can give information about changes in physical properties of the crust before large earthquakes.