Iceland’s More Than 20,000 Earthquakes

By Kris W. Sky | Posted March 15, 2021

Beginning February 24 of this year, a region in southwest Iceland, part of the Reykjanes Peninsula, has been experiencing warning signs: “more than 20,000 earthquakes recorded” in a mere 10-day span. And on March 5, CBS News reported “more than 3,100 earthquakes on the peninsula in the past 48 hours alone.”

Iceland is no stranger to seismic activity; in fact, “it straddles two of the Earth’s tectonic plates, both the North American and Eurasian.” While this series of quakes has been mostly small—the majority not even breaching a 3.0 magnitude—studies have shown that “similar tremors have been observed ahead of volcanic eruptions in the past.”

Indeed, an increase in seismic activity led to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, one of the island’s 30 volcanoes, in April 2010 for the span of three months. The eruption made headlines when, from April 14 to 20, the spewing volcano created an ash cloud, “[causing] one of the most significant air-traffic interruptions in decades.”

Don’t Worry About It?

This most recent surge of ominous quakes, however, is unprecedented. “I have experienced earthquakes before but never so many in a row. … It makes you feel very small and powerless against nature,” The Hill quoted one citizen as saying. “Never in my lifetime have I experienced so many earthquakes,” geophysicist and professor emeritus of the University of Iceland Dr. Pall Einarsson told The New York Times.

Nonetheless, while this may be a first for them, scientists are not surprised. Those who have been studying the island’s volcanoes noticed that the activity has been increasing since the end of 2019.

Neither, they opine, are the quakes cause for any anxiety. “There’s a lot of them, and that worries people, but there’s nothing to worry about, the world is not going to collapse,” assured volcanology professor Thorvaldur Thordarson, also of the University of Iceland. If a mountain does end up blowing, the eruption would be of “a ‘slow flow,’” leaking lava rather than exploding it.

The Icelandic government concurs: As Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir put it in an official statement, in addition to the nation’s citizens being “used to dealing calmly with many different types of natural events related to the weather or geology,” they are at “‘very low’ risk” anyway, since the population resides largely out of the line of fire. Jakobsdóttir also pointed to the faith she has in Iceland’s “critical infrastructure,” remaining unfazed simply because “the country is ‘extremely well prepared.’”

Are You Prepared?

In ad 79, Mount Vesuvius, a volcano in southwest Italy, exploded, burying the city of Pompeii in ash, debris, and poisonous gas, and killing 2,000 of its citizens. More than a thousand bodies were discovered, in mid-speech, in mid-action, frozen instantly by the downpour of ash itself.

The eruption did not come out of nowhere. In ad 62, 16 years earlier, a sizeable earthquake shook the city, leaving it largely in ruins. Still, the people just began to rebuild and went on with their lives. More quakes occurred, in hindsight clear warning signs of impending doom. But they all were to no avail. “The Romans knew that Vesuvius was a volcano, but they thought it extinct,” states an article in Current Archaeology, a popular British archaeology magazine. If anything, more people settled in the fashionable city.

Of course, in today’s world, there is a whole scientific field devoted to the study of volcanoes. Volcanologists are able to employ the use of seismographs, thermometers, satellites, to name but a few data gatherers. They are on the watch constantly, and the information they learn has the aim to protect human life, preserve it, save it.

Yet even they cannot predict the exact date and time of an eruption—or even if one is going to occur. Imagine if there were someone who did know the future though. Imagine if there were someone who you could trust absolutely. Well, there is.

“There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets” (Daniel 2:28), and He “knows all things” (1 John 3:20). Through the Bible, God has given us data to preserve our eternal life: “The Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). The Bible is God’s method of preparing His people.

It is through the Bible that God foretells the signs of the times: Christ prophesies an increasing number of “great earthquakes in various places” (Luke 21:11) right before He comes again. There may not be an Icelandic eruption in a few days’ time, but Iceland’s earthquakes are forebodings of the last days, when a shaking like no other will succeed in moving “every mountain and island … out of its place” (Revelation 6:14).

And in the very end, a fire—not from a volcano but from God in heaven—will strike the earth, destroying all wickedness forever and purifying the planet anew. This is God’s gift to His people, a home where righteousness, justice, and God’s great love reigns.

Don’t you want to be prepared for that shaking? Don’t you want to be ready to receive God’s gift of eternal life? Taking a look at Pastor Doug Batchelor’s free message, “A Storm Shelter,” is a good start. And follow it up with a biblical understanding of the final fires of hell in another of Pastor Doug’s messages, “Cities of Ash.

What it comes down to is the reliability of the source. All the information in the world would mean nothing if it turned out to be false. It is a good thing, then, that “the entirety of [God’s] word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). You can trust the Bible fully. It is your best “critical infrastructure” for what is to come.

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.

If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.