According to news report on Vísir.is (Icelandic), it appears that Bárðarbunga volcano is continuing to inflate at the same rate as it has been doing since the eruption ended in Holuhraun in the end of February 2015. Gas measurements from cauldrons that formed on the caldera rim during the eruption in 2014 show that gas output from Bárðarbunga volcano have not dropped during the last year and continue to be high. The glacier drop that formed during the eruption is now almost full of new glacier and snow from last winter. Nothing suggest that water has been collecting at the caldera bottom during the last two years.
The research trip to Bárðarbunga volcano was taken during the days of 3 – 10th of June. A new seismometer was also installed on the caldera rim. I don’t know if it’s a SIL station or not. If it is, it is going to appear soon on Iceland Met Office website.
Few days ago a glacier flood started from western Skaftárkatlar cauldron. Due to how short time it is since last time glacier flood took place from the western cauldron a major glacier flood is not expected. No damage is also not expected from this glacier flood due to how small it is.
Harmonic tremor disturbance due to the glacier flood from western Skaftárkatlar cauldron. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
When the water pressure is released from the hydrothermal area that powers this cauldron, a spike in harmonic tremor is normally seen on nearby SIL station. The reason for this is unclear, with leading ideas that magma moves in the hydrothermal system when the pressure drops. The image above shows such harmonic tremor spike taking place at Jökulheimar SIL station. Eruption is not expected to happen due to this glacier flood, what happens is impossible to know for sure. Normally nothing more than just harmonic tremor spike happens.
Today (23-June-2016) a deep earthquake swarm took place in Katla volcano. None of the earthquakes that took place where strong, but many of them where deep. The deepest earthquake had the depth of 28 km, at this depth it’s only magma that creates earthquakes.
The earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
Other interesting feature that showed up is a dyke intrusion in the caldera wall to the south, it is located almost directly north of Vík í Mýrdal village. This dyke intrusion appeared in 2011 after the minor eruption in July that year (this is my view, at the moment it has not been approved by scientists). It is unclear how this dyke intrusion is evolving, but there might be some risk of eruption from it if the pressure increases. Currently there is nothing that suggests an eruption is about to happen.
Today (21-June-2016) a minor earthquake swarm took place on Reykjanes Peninsula, this earthquake swarm was located close to a mountain called Keilir. This was not a large earthquake swarm, around 20 earthquakes took place.
The earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes peninsula. The earthquakes are the red dots. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
None of the earthquakes that took place was strong, with the largest earthquake only having the magnitude of 2,2. Other earthquakes that took place had smaller magnitude. This earthquake activity appears to have died out (for now at least).
It has been noticed that earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano is slowly increasing. At the moment this increase is just in the form of minor earthquakes taking place in the volcano at 5 – 10 km depth (at the moment). This was covered in a Icelandic news two days ago (when this is written), the volcanologist in the news (Páll Einarsson) says this is nothing to worry about at the moment, that I agree with, mostly, he also put forward that idea this process, if it evolves into an eruption might take up to 18 years from start to finish, as was the case with Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This is where I disagree with the professor Páll Einarsson, the reason being that this process already started good 10 years ago, I also suspect that Öræfajökull volcano to be a volcano that erupts suddenly and with a lot of force once it does erupt.
The eruption in the year 1362 had the VEI of 5 and the eruption in 1727 had the explosive force of VEI=4. Both eruptions lasted several months. Öræfajökull volcano only makes ash rich, explosive eruptions, based on latest historical data and studies into the volcano history. The processes that power Öræfajökull volcano might also be different, since there is an slab of old continental crust (study: Continental crust beneath southeast Iceland) under Öræfajökull volcano, that is slowly melting due the nearby hotspot. This means the magma is mostly silica, not far from the magma found in volcanoes found at subduction zones around the world.
There is also a second volcano this same area that has been showing sign of increased activity. That volcano is called Esjufjöll, it has even less understood activity (if any) since people moved to Iceland ~1300 years ago. There is a chance of an unconfirmed eruption in the year 1927, but it didn’t last long, maybe up to five days, it was mostly noted due a glacier flood from the area this volcano is located (small according to historical documents).
Today (15-June-2016) at 12:51 UTC an earthquake with the magnitude of 3,3 took place at Reykjanes ridge.
The earthquake on the Reykjanes ridge. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
Only one earthquake happened and no other activity has appeared on the Reykjanes ridge following this event. There is a good chance that no further activity is going to take place in this area for the moment.
I don’t know a lot about this earthquake swarm close to Hveravellir (Langjökull north), due the lack of information. What I do know is that an earthquake swarm is taking place there and the largest earthquakes so far have the magnitude around 2,1. Largest reviewed earthquake had the magnitude of 2,1 at 2,1 km depth. Other than this information I don’t know for sure what is going on in this area.
The few earthquakes that Iceland Met Office has been able to locate with some certainty in Hveravellir. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
This earthquake swarm is appearing clearly on nearby SIL station and only this one SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
The drumplot of that SIL station also shows this earthquake swarm clearly. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
I’m currently guessing that around 50 – 100 earthquakes have taken place so far, but without accurate data its difficult to know. The magnitude in this earthquake swarm is from 0,0 – ~2,1 so far. Larger earthquakes can’t be ruled out, but as the magnitude grows, so improves the SIL network ability to locate the earthquake magnitude and depth properly. For the smaller earthquakes, they are only going to appear on one to two SIL stations and that is not enough data to properly locate them or figure out exact magnitude.
I’m going to post updates to this earthquake swarm as it happens if needed.
Currently everything is quiet in Iceland, from midnight (UTC) there have only been five earthquakes recorded (automatic, the manual number is higher) and I’m not sure if any of them did have the magnitude above 1,0 (so far). It has been quiet in Iceland in the last few days, during a quiet time in the weather (no major wind). How long this quiet is going to last I don’t know. This type of quiet normally ends with a earthquake swarm somewhere in Iceland, sometimes they are big earthquake swarms and sometimes they are small earthquake swarms.
Due to how quiet it is I don’t have anything to report at the moment. What needs to be kept eye on are the normal suspect, Bárðarbunga volcano, Katla volcano and the fracture zones in north and south Iceland. Some activity might be happening deep on the Reykjanes ridge and north of Kolbeinsey Island (north of Grímsey Island).
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This is just a short overview of activity in the last 24 hours (or so) in Iceland.
As usual Bárðarbunga volcano had an magnitude 3,4 earthquake this week. This time it only appears to have been just a one earthquake. Based on the signature of this earthquake, there is a good chance it was created by magma, rather than tectonic processes.
Bárðarbunga volcano earthquake. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
I expect this earthquake activity to continue for a while now.
Tjörnes Fracture Zone (TFZ)
A small earthquake swarm took place in eastern TFZ this morning. This was not a large earthquake swarm, with the largest earthquake having the magnitude 2,0. Around 40 or so earthquakes took place in this minor swarm.
The earthquake swarm on TFZ, close to the village of Kópasker. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
This earthquake swarm is over and I don’t think it is going to start again. Earthquake swarms like this one are common on TFZ.
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