Strong earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano yesterday (20-May-2017)

Yesterday there was a strong earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano (GVP has new information about Bárðarbunga volcano). Two of the largest earthquakes had the magnitude of Mw3,9 and Mw3,8 other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude and around 10 earthquakes happened in Bárðarbunga volcano. This activity is also different from historical activity from 1970’s and towards 1994 (Gjálp eruption), when a magnitude 5 earthquake would happen in Bárðarbunga volcano once to twice a year. Current activity suggests that magma is inflating Bárðarbunga volcano faster than in the period between 1970’s and 1994. Why that is is not known to me.


The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Current change is that in recent weeks there are fewer earthquakes taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano, but when they happen they are often larger in magnitude and more than one large earthquake happens during the earthquake swarm.


The magnitude (Mw) 3,8 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano as it appeared on my geophone in Böðvarshólar. This image is under Creative Commons Licence, see CC licence for more details.


The magnitude (Mw) 3,8 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano as it appeared on my geophone in Heklubyggð. This image is under Creative Commons Licence, see CC licence for more details.


The magnitude (Mw) 3,9 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano as it appeared on my geophone in Böðvarshólar. This image is under Creative Commons Licence, see CC licence for more details.


The magnitude (Mw) 3,9 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano as it appeared on my geophone in Heklubyggð. This image is under Creative Commons Licence, see CC licence for more details.

According to reports on Global Volcanism Program the most magma collection is happening at the depth of 10 km (or around that depth), no clear or oblivious signs are that magma is collecting at shallower depth at the moment. If that is required for a eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano is not know at the moment, there is a possibility that magma might collect at 10 km depth and then pump out with a dike as was seen in the Holuhraun eruption (2014 – 2015). What has been confirmed is that magma is collecting under Bárðarbunga volcano and the volcano is inflating. This inflation is either going to stop or its going to continue until a new eruption happens.

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This entry was posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Inflation, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Strong earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano yesterday (20-May-2017)

  1. Jœkull says:

    Big Bárða boom?

  2. Sandrock says:

    Have you a link to check the volcano inflating?

  3. Jan B says:

    Couldn’t the higher inflation be due to the period of higher activity in general that Iceland have gone into? One can’t compare the inflation rate when there is a low activity with the inflation when there is high activity and expect the same timing…

    Higher activity likely implies higher pressure, which likely then also means that inflation will be quicker. Case closed?

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