A seismic study of the rift zone in Northern Iceland

Main Article Content

S.M. Zverev
I.V. Litvinenko
G. Palmason
G.A. Yaroshevskaya
N.N. Osokin
M.A. Akhmetjev


The complex geological-geophysical expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences jointly with the National Energy Authority (Orkustofnun) of Iceland conducted in 1977 a detailed seismic investigation of the flood basalt and rift zones in northern Iceland, similar to studies in southwestern Iceland. Continuous seismic profiling with 4–6 shot points was carried out across a total length of 90 km. In the flood basalt zone shallow refracting horizons were observed with Vp = 4.3–4.5 km/s and tilted toward the rift zone. They closely correspond to dense sheets of flood basalts mapped geologically. Refracting and reflecting horizons at 2 to 12 or 15 km depth are tilted more gently in the same direction. A slight depression filled with neovolcanic formations with VP < 3 km/s exists near the surface in the rift zone. Reflectors with steep tilt can be traced to depths of 15 km. The deepest part of the depression is west of Myvatn in the region of current volcanism and rifting. A seismically homogeneous body without reflectors was detected under this region at 10–15 km depth. On the whole, the structure of the rift zone in northern Iceland is similar to, but more complex than, that of southwestern Iceland.

Google Scholar           ARK: https://n2t.net/ark:/88439/y050551

Permalink: https://geophysicsjournal.com/article/267


Article Details

How to Cite
Zverev, S., Litvinenko, I., Palmason, G., Yaroshevskaya, G., Osokin, N., & Akhmetjev, M. (1980). A seismic study of the rift zone in Northern Iceland. Journal of Geophysics, 47(1), 191-201. Retrieved from https://journal.geophysicsjournal.com/JofG/article/view/267


Bjornsson, A., Johnsen, G., Sigurdsson, S., Thorbergsson, G., Tryggvason, E. (1979) Rifting of the plate boundary in North Iceland 1975-1978. J. Geophys. Res. 84:3029-3038

Bjornsson, A., Saemundsson, K., Einarsson, P., Tryggvason, E., Granvold, K. (1977) Current rifting episode in North Iceland. Nature 266:318-323

Burkhardt, H., Vees, R. (1975) Explosions in shallow water for deep seismic sounding experiments. J. Geophys. 41:463-474

Gebrande, H., Miller, H., Einarsson, P. (1980) Seismic structure of Iceland along RRISP Profile I. J. Geophys. 47:239 249

Litvinenko, I.V. (1971) Seismic methods of studying the complex structure of the upper part of the continental crust. Notes Leningrad Mining Inst. V XI(2)

Palmason, G. (1971) Crustal structure of Iceland from explosion seismology. Soc. Sci. Isl. 40, 187pp.

Palmason, G., Saemundsson, K. (1974) Iceland in relation to the MidAtlantic Ridge. Annu. Rev. Earth. Planet. Sci. 2:25-50

RRISP Working Group (1979) First results from the Reykjanes Ridge Iceland Seismic Project 1977. Nature 279:56-60

RRISP Working Group (1980) Reykjanes Ridge Iceland seismic experiment (RRISP 77). J. Geophys. 47:228-238

Riznichenko, Yu.V. (1946) Geometrical seismology of stratified media (in Russian). Proc. Inst. Theor Geophys. II

Saemundsson, K. (1974) Evolution of the axial rifting zone in northern Iceland and the Tjornes fracture zone. Bull. Geol. Soc. Am. 85:495-504

Saemundsson, K. (1977) Geological Map of Iceland, Sheet 7. Reykjavik, Mus. Nat. Hist.

Saemundsson, K. (1978) Fissure swarms and central volcanoes of the neovolcanic zones of Iceland. Geol. J. Spec. Iss. 10:415-432

Zverev, S.M., Litvinenko, I.V., Palmason, G., Yaroshevskaya, G.A., Osokin, N.N. (1979) A seismic study of the western rift in southern Iceland (in Russian). Bull. Mosk. 0-va ispit. pripodi. otd. geol. (Bull. MOIP), Vol. 54, No. 3

Zverev, S.M., Litvinenko, L. V., Palmason, G., Yaroshevskaya, G.A., Osokin, N.N. (1980) A seismic crustal study of the axial rift zone in southwest Iceland. J. Geophys. 47:202-210