6.1 Earthquake Strikes Iceland

May 30, 2008

A strong magnitude 6.1 (moment magnitude) earthquake struck Iceland. According to preliminary reports from the USGS, the epicentre was around 30 miles (50 km) east southeast of Reykjavik. The USGS indicates that there was strong to very strong shaking in the epicentre region, with the potential of light to moderate damage. Selfoss is the largest town in the epicentre region with a population of around 6,000. Damage reports suggest that there has been considerable contents damage to homes in Hveragerdi, Selfoss, Thorlakshfn, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri.

Neena Saith, catastrophe response manager at RMS in London, commented: “Preliminary reports suggest that structural damage seems to be fairly light, mainly consisting of cracked walls, although one farm house appears to have collapsed. Some residents were injured during the earthquake, but no fatalities have been reported.

“The last significant earthquakes in this region were in 2000 when a magnitude 6.5 and magnitude 6.1 struck southern Iceland. Both these events occurred in slightly less populated areas than the May 29 earthquake and insured losses of $15 million and $9 million respectively were reported.”

RMS is monitoring the situation to assess the impact on the insurance industry.

Source: RMS.

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