Update on Bárðarbunga volcano and high conductivity in Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river

Conductivity remains rather high in Jökulsá á Fjöllum as it has been doing since before 14th of November. The source remains at Bárðarbunga volcano. The conductivity has slowly been getting lower since it peaked before 14th of November (I’m not sure when the peak was). Yesterday (18-November) I did notice the news a little discussion about Bárðarbunga volcano. It was stated that at least one cauldron in the glacier above Bárðarbunga volcano is so hot that is makes a steam trough the glacier. I have also not hear any other details about the reason why conductivity remains rather high in Jökuls á Fjöllum glacier river from the observations yesterday.

The steaming hydrothermal systems means there is a considerable energy in Bárðarbunga volcano system at the moment. This also invites the risk that next eruption cycle in Bárðarbunga volcano is going to large. This also increases the risk of small eruptions that are also hard to detect and might not break the glacier surface, unless they happen close to one of the new hydrothermal areas.


Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano in the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

When next eruption cycle starts in Bárðarbunga volcano is impossible to know.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Volcano | Leave a comment

Uncertainly level declared for Öræfajökull volcano, aviation code moved to yellow alert

Yesterday the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management declared uncertainty level for Öræfajökull volcano. Aviation colour code was also moved up to yellow alert level (can be viewed here).

Current status is that a ice cauldron has formed in the centre of the Öræfajökull volcano caldera. It is about 1 km wide and around 21 to 25 meters deep according to early measurements. This is the first time in documented history that such ice cauldrons has formed in Öræfajökull volcano. It is now believed that the ice cauldron has been emptying it self all week resulting in smell of sulphur in Kvíá glacier river. The glacier river can be viewed here on Google Maps Street View. Currently there is not a lot of earthquake activity happening in Öræfajökull volcano. This is to be expected (I guess). It is also worth noting that Öræfajökull volcano did do in few months what took Eyjafjallajökull volcano 16 years to do until an eruption happened.

There is not a lot of details on earlier eruptions from Öræfajökull volcano. Earliest eruption to our in time took place between 1727 and until 1728 (289 years). Before that an eruption took place in 1362 (655 years) and lasted for five months. Currently I don’t have a lot of information about the current status. This is due to lack of measurements as it was not expected that Öræfajökull volcano would do this even if earthquake activity was happening in the volcano. It was only from October (it seems) that it was figured out that something was going on in Öræfajökull volcano.


No earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano during the past 48 hours (blue dot in the south part of the image). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Images of the new ice cauldron can be found here on Icelandic Met Office website.

I’ll post new information in this article as needed. If anything major happens I’ll write a new article.

Article updated at 16:26 UTC. Added information that I forgot.

Posted in Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Hydrothermal, Magma, Monitoring, Öræfajökull, Volcano | 14 Comments

High conductivity in glacier rivers coming form Mýrdalsjökull glacier (Katla volcano)

During the last few days there has been high conductivity in glacier rivers coming from Mýrdalsjökull glacier (Katla volcano). Due to how cold it is the glacier rivers are not getting any melt water or water from clear streams and that is making the hydrothermal water stronger than normal. Current conductivity is 567µS/cm in Múlakvísl in Mýrdalssandur sand area (not sure where the sensor is located). Some gas has also been detected and that gas is toxic and enough amount to result in breathing problems. Measured amount of H2S was 1ppm and this gas is toxic.

Some minor earthquake activity has been in Katla volcano during the last two days. That earthquake activity might be due to the emptying of the cauldrons in Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The magnitudes in this earthquake activity is minor and all below 2,0 at the moment.


Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is difficult to know if this means anything other than cauldrons in the glacier emptying them self in nearby glacier rivers.

Posted in Earthquakes, Gas, Glacier river, Katla / Mýrdalsjökull, Monitoring, Toxic, Volcano | 2 Comments

Magnitude 3,4 earthquake in Tjörnes Fracture Zone during the night

At 01:01 UTC on 18-November-2017 there was a magnitude 3,4 earthquake in western part of the Tjörnes Fracture Zone. A foreshock of magnitude 2,2 occurred at 00:30 UTC. Only this two earthquakes happened at this location north of Siglufjörður village.


The earthquake activity in TFZ during the night. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The larger earthquake was felt in Siglufjörður village.

Posted in Earthquakes, Monitoring, TFZ, Tjörnes Fracture Zone | Leave a comment

Sulphur smell from Kvíá glacier river that comes from Öræfajökull volcano

Today (16-November-2017) it was reported that sulphur smell was felt from a glacier river that comes from Öræfajökull volcano. The glacier river in question is called Kvíá and is a small and short glacier rivers on the south side. Currently there are no conductivity measurements on the glacier rives that comes from Öræfajökull volcano. The plan is that such measurements are going to start soon around Öræfajökull volcano. Along with gas measurements.

This change suggests that a hydrothermal systems have opened up somewhere under the glacier in Öræfajökull volcano. This means that magma has now reached depth of 1 km or less. For the past few days the earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano has been getting lower then during the last few weeks when up to 50 earthquakes was being recorded during each week. Earthquake activity continues today, but at much lower rates than before at the moment.

I’ll post updates about this as more information is reported.

Icelandic news in Icelandic

Brennisteinslykt við Öræfajökul (Rúv.is, Icelandic, map of the area)
Rannsaka brennisteinslykt við Kvíá (Vísir.is)

Article updated at 17.11.2017 at 00:44 UTC. Minor text title fixes.

Posted in Earthquakes, Monitoring, Öræfajökull, Volcano | 18 Comments

High conductivity in Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river is from Bárðarbunga volcano

It seems that the close to 10 days high conductivity in Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river is from Bárðarbunga volcano rather than Kverkfjöll volcano as first thought. New images from the area show this clearly as the river from Kverkfjöll volcano doesn’t show any change and the high conductivity has continued without showing any peak as is normal for glacier floods from the lake in Kverkfjöll volcano.

It remains unclear what is going on. At the moment there aren’t any sign of an eruption having taken place in Bárðarbunga volcano and it remains unclear from where the glacier flood water is coming from since weather has prevented flying over this area in recent days. It is possible that this is just a cauldron the glacier emptying it self, but given how long the high conductivity has been going on it must be a large cauldron. This might also mean bad news for the area where bridges are if a major flood happens without warning due to this change or if an eruption starts suddenly and without much warning.

Icelandic news

Upptök frekar í Bárðarbungu en Gengissigi (Ruv.is, Icelandic)

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dyke intrusions, Magma, Monitoring, Volcano | 11 Comments

One magnitude 3,7 earthquake in western TFZ

Yesterday (13-November-2017) at 07:36 UTC a magnitude 3,7 earthquake took place in western Tjörnes Fracture Zone. There where no aftershocks following this earthquake or any other earthquake activity.


The magnitude 3,7 took place where the green star is. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There is not much else to say about this earthquake since no other earthquake took place following it. It was felt by local people.

Posted in Earthquakes, Monitoring, TFZ | Leave a comment

Earthquake swarm in TFZ close to Kópasker village

Today (08-November-2017) a small earthquake swarm happened west of Kópasker village. Largest earthquake in this swarm had magnitude of 3,0 and the second largest magnitude was 2,2 (foreshock).


The earthquake activity in TFZ. The green star shows the location of this earthquake swarm.

This earthquake swarm seems to be over at the moment but there is always a lot of earthquake activity in TFZ. Earthquake activity at this location has been going on for some time now with quiet period between them. There is a good chance that pattern is going to repeat in next few weeks.

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Posted in Earthquakes, Monitoring, Swarm, TFZ | 2 Comments

Deep earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano system and increased conductivity in Jökulsá á fjöllum glacier river

Today (7-November-2017) there has been deep earthquakes taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano system, just south-east of the main volcano. This earthquakes are not strong and only have the magnitude of 16,4 to 18,8 km. This time none of the earthquakes that happened reached magnitude 1,0.


Location of the deep earthquakes is south-east of the main Bárðarbunga volcano. It is marked by three red dots. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is also in the news that conductivity in Jökulsá á fjöllum glacier river (map of Jökulsá á fjöllum glacier river can be found here) is at all times high and have been increasing for the last two weeks (14 days) and are now the highest ever recorded. It is unclear at the moment why this is happening as no eruption has been detected from Bárðarbunga volcano during this time. The glacier river is also unusually dark for this time of the year and smell of hydrothermal water has also been detected. Current values are 295µ/cm. This is a risky situation if something more happens under the glacier as this area goes close to Road 1 and connected bridges. If a major flood happens those bridges are going to get lost and there is always a risk of more damage happening, but that depends on factors that are impossible to predict.

Icelandic News – Google Translated can be used for raw translation

Aukin rafleiðni í Jökulsá á Fjöllum (Rúv.is)
Aukin rafleiðni í Jökulsá á fjöllum (Vísir.is)
Raf­leiðni í ánni farið hækk­andi (mbl.is)

Update 1

There is a possibility that this might be a glacier flood from Kverkfjöll volcano. That has not been confirmed as of this moment. Glacier flood from Kverkfjöll volcano happen every few years.

Updated Icelandic News

Hlaup hugsanlegt í Jökulsá á Fjöllum (Rúv.is)
Aukin rafleiðni í Jökulsá á Fjöllum bendir til hlaups (Vísir.is)

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Article updated at 22:11 UTC.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Glacier river, Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Magma, Monitoring, Volcano | 13 Comments

Earthquake swarm in Öræfajökull volcano

For the last few hours there has been a earthquake swarm in Öræfajökull volcano. I’m not clear on how many earthquakes have so far happened in Öræfajökull volcano at the moment. Most of them have been smaller than 1,5 in magnitude and only few earthquakes with magnitude 2,0 and above have so far happened. This is a unusual earthquake swarm and possibly the largest one since the unrest started in Öræfajökull volcano few years ago.


The earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano at the south end of Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm is on a line that is almost north-south direction and that is interesting as it crosses the crater of Öræfajökull volcano. That type of pattern appeared last month during the earthquake swarms that took place then. Between now and then there has just been few earthquakes here and there in the volcano. Old history tells (from the eruption 1362) that before the main eruption at least two earthquakes are felt nearby. How accurate that documentation is questionable due its age and possible rewrite over history. Detailed report on Öræfajökull volcano can be found here (pdf) by Icelandic Met Office. Historical data shows that eruption from Öræfajökull volcano are powerful and can lost for a short time (1326 eruption), but they can also last for few months like the 1727 eruption that started in August 3rd and ended on May 1728 (+- 30 days error margin).

Notice on Esjufjöll volcano

There has also been a minor increase in earthquake activity in Esjufjöll volcano. This seems to be a side effects of the activity in Öræfajökull volcano. Why and how that works is unknown to me. I don’t expect any eruption to take place in Esjufjöll volcano. Last eruption was possibly in the year 1920 and was short lived (few hours?). I don’t know how long this earthquake activity has been going on in Esjufjöll volcano, but it is mentioned in a Icelandic Met Office report from 2002, that report can be read here (pdf).

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Posted in Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Öræfajökull, Swarm, Volcano | 21 Comments