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.

This entry was posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Glacier river, Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Magma, Monitoring, Volcano. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Jack McIlveen says:

    Thanks Jon looks like driving might be a pain in the north if this happens.

  2. Earthquake with depth of 34,1 km slightly outside of Öræfajökull volcano system. Also a earthquake 26,4 km depth inside Bárðarbuga volcano system in the fissure area extending south-west of Bárðarbunga volcano in the direction of Torfajökull volcano.

  3. Beardy Gaz says:

    It was from Kverkfjoll, see the specialist remark from the IMO (http://en.vedur.is/#tab=vatnafar):

    “Comparison of radar images, from Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland, indicate slight changes at the geothermal area in W-Kverkfjöll. Additionally, geothermal odour was observed at the Kverkfjöll hut on Sunday (5.11.17). Geothermal odour has previously been observed in connection with drainage of geothermal water from beneath the glacier. These two observations at Kverkfjöll indicate that geothermal water from Kverkfjöll causes the increased conductivity in Jökulsá á Fjöllum river.

    Now the conductivity level is high (300 microS/cm) but slowly decreasing. Travellers are advised to show caution by the river due to possible gas.”

    Bardarbunga-B, as you call it, has been written about by myself:

    http://www.volcanocafe.org/greip-gjalps-mysterious-sister/

    And there is also a paper on the feature here:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL074749/abstract

    This feature does not have any surface activity at present so will not be the source of any glacial flood.

    • There hasn’t been any change in conductivity and the flight over the area was cancelled again. If this was only the lake the change is only going to last few days at most and already this has been going on for considerable time already.

  4. Kay Tina Cook says:

    New report on http://www.ruv.id short time ago indicates inspection flight postponed until after the weekend. It is said that nothing fully explains the raised level of conductivity. However, this is not worsening, nor abating.

  5. Kay Tina Cook says:

    Should say http://www.ruv.is

  6. Conductivity has started to drop in Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river.

    http://www.ruv.is/frett/minnkandi-rafleidni-i-jokulsa-a-fjollum

  7. An article published at 4.55 pm today on RÚV states that Kverkfjöll is not the culprit when it comes to the conductivity increases at Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Apparently, the most likely culprit is Bárðarbungu around the area where increases in geothermal activity have been noted. This is going to be looked into further as soon as practically possible. The article in Icelandic only is here
    http://www.ruv.is/frett/upptok-frekar-i-bardarbungu-en-gengissigi

  8. I’ll post update on the earthquake close to Siglufjörður and a update on Bárðarbunga volcano. I am feeling a little sick at the moment and I have to sleep a little to get better.

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