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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."
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.
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