Today (18-June-2014) at 10:20 UTC a magnitude 3,2 earthquake took place in Katla volcano caldera. A swarm of smaller earthquakes did happen after the main event. Depth of the main earthquake was 2,5 km.
The magnitude 3,1 earthquake in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Following this earthquake few minor earthquakes appeared. None of them had a magnitude above 1,0. So far things remain quiet in Katla volcano and it is difficult to know for sure if this is something more than just summer earthquake activity in Katla volcano. I am at least going to keep an eye out for activity in Katla volcano.
The magnitude 3,1 earthquake as it did appear on my geophone in Heklubyggð. This image is under Creative Commons Licence. Please see CC Licence page for more details.
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Post updated at 14:45 UTC.
Today (13-June-2014) an earthquake activity took place in Hofsjökull volcano. The largest earthquake in this activity had the magnitude of 2,8 with the depth of 5,1 km.
Earthquake activity in Hofsjökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Earthquake activity in Hofsjökull volcano is not common but it does happen once to twice a year. Everything remains quiet at Hofsjökull volcano and I don’t expect that is going to change any time soon.
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Updated at 16:47 UTC.
Updated at 17:23 UTC.
Updated at 17:39 UTC.
Yesterday (6-June-2014) there was an earthquake swarm of small earthquakes in Katla volcano. The depth of this earthquakes was from 24 to 28 km. None of this earthquakes had the magnitude above 2,0 and the strongest earthquake only had the magnitude of 1,5 in the caldera rim.
The earthquake activity in Katla volcano caldera. The earthquake swarm took place under the rim of the caldera. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Today (7-June-2014) other anomaly activity has been showing up. Few earthquakes have been showing up 10 km north-east of the Vík í Mýrdal village. All of the earthquakes in question are small. There depth is from 18,4 and down to 29,2 km. The activity is inside the Katla volcano system it self, as it stretches out to this area. But this activity is taking place on the rim of the Katla volcano system as it is known today.
The earthquake activity 10 km north-east of Vík í Mýrdal village. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Earthquake activity at this depth is not because of stress changes in the crust. This earthquake activity is most likely due to some changes in the magma inside Katla volcano. It probably does not mean anything in terms of risk of eruption at the moment, at least not while the activity remains on the low levels as it currently is. Given the experience from the minor eruption in July-2011, earthquake activity in Katla volcano needs to be considerably higher then it currently is. It is impossible to know if this deep earthquake activity signals any change in Katla volcano activity for coming months, it’s all just wait and see, same as before.
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Today (03-June-2014) there was a lot of minor earthquake activity in several volcanoes in Vatnajökull glacier. This is normal earthquake activity and so far nothing to worry about. This appears to be normal micro-earthquake activity in this volcanoes and I don’t see anything suggesting that volcano eruption is going to happen soon.
Earthquake activity today in volcanoes in Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Þórðarhyrna volcano (No GVP link. It is under Grímsfjall volcano GVP information) has been having interesting activity for the past few days. It might have been ongoing longer without being noticed until now. This earthquake activity is interesting since there is normally no earthquake activity in this volcano. Last eruption in Þórðarhyrna volcano took place in the year 1902. Activity in Þórðarhyrna volcano is often connected to eruptions in Grímsfjall volcano.
Some minor earthquake activity has been taking place in the area around dike intrusion location in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is just a minor activity and nothing to worry about.
Some minor earthquake activity is taking place in Kverkfjöll volcano. This earthquake activity is just minor. It is unusual to have earthquake activity in Kverkfjöll volcano. This earthquake activity is clearly a signal of increase of activity in Kverkfjöll volcano, it however does not signal that an eruption is imminent in Kverkfjöll volcano. So far everything remains quiet and might be so for a good while longer. Last eruption in Kverkfjöll volcano was in the year 1968.
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Today (3-June-2014) a magnitude 2,5 earthquake took place south of Hekla volcano. Depth of this earthquake was 9,6 km. It did appear clearly on my geophone in Heklubyggð, it can be viewed on-line here.
The earthquakes south of Hekla volcano. Some minor earthquake activity in Katla volcano also appears on this image. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
There was no signs of harmonic tremor or anything suggesting that volcano eruption was about to start following this earthquake. Everything is quiet for now. Some minor aftershock activity took place following the main earthquake. I am expecting minor earthquake activity to continue to take place at this location. Earthquake activity at this location has happened before in similar way as it did today. When eruption do starts in Hekla volcano, there is going to be a lot more earthquake activity then took place today. Until that happens, there is no reason to worry about this. If you are going to hike on Hekla volcano then please do go safe route, since Hekla volcano is well known for sudden eruptions with no warning at all, besides the earthquake swarm in the hour or two before a start of an eruption.
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Yesterday (1-June-2014) a 300 meter wide landslide fell in east Iceland. This landslide did create minor damage for the nearby farm. The total damage is so far 250.000 ISK (1.615,93€, 1.312,13 GBP current exchange rate). The farmer thinks that at least one sheep was lost under the landslide, it is not told of any lambs where lost, 500 poles for fences where also lost under the landslide. This farmer makes them for sale. Four horses did safe them by jumping over a fence when the landslide got close to them.
The reason for this landslide is melting of snow the mountain above the farm. Summer melt has now started in Iceland and for the past few days have been warm in Iceland with temperature going up to 18C (and above) at locations. There has not been a lot of rainfall in Iceland for the past few days.
Icelandic news of this landslide
Aurskriða féll í leysingum í Fljótsdal (Rúv.is, Icelandic, Picture)
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In the Icelandic news today there is a article about new study on the deep Reykjanes Ridge. According to that that study an eruption took place deep on the Reykjanes Ridge sometimes in the past 20 years. Following this eruption a sharp and strong earthquake activity took place at this same location. No signs of this eruption where visible on the surface of the ocean. At this location the depth is around 2 to 3 km. The unnamed volcano is at around the location at 61N degree north, this makes the location around 400 to 500 km from land. The study did compare scans of the ocean floor at this location taken in the year 1994 to new ones taken in the year 2013. This newer scans clearly showed that eruptions had taken place in the time period between those scans of the ocean floor. It is not known when this eruptions took place or how large they where, or for how long they lasted. There have been earthquakes swarms at this location in the past 20 years. I don’t know if that is a sign of new eruptions at this location. It is also extremely difficult to confirm any new eruptions at this location if such event took place after last scientific study into this area.
More information in Icelandic
Sjá merki um eldgos á Reykjaneshryggnum (mbl.is, map of volcano, Icelandic)
Áður óþekkt eldgos á Reykjaneshrygg (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Updated at 14:48 UTC.
Updated at 15:09 UTC.
Updated at 15:11 UTC.
It is a common misconception that eruptions take place in Iceland every 4 to 5 years. That is the average number of years between eruptions. The actual picture of the eruption rate in Iceland is far from this simple. Eruption activity in Iceland happens in periods of 50 to 80 years. With long quiet periods between them that last up to 50 to 80 years. The period of high activity and low activity are about equally long according to scientific data. The longest period of quiet took place in the year 1720 to 1880, that is a quiet period of 160 years. The shortest period of quiet took place 1620 to 1720, this is a period of 100 years. The rate of eruptions during the active areas is 4 to 11 eruptions over a period of 40 years, but during the quiet period that number is 0 – 4 eruptions over a period of 40 years. In every case but one the eruptions where in Grímsfjall volcano.
Last peak in eruptions in Iceland took place in the years 1880 to 1900. Last eruption low took place in the year 1960 in Iceland. Before that this low in activity took place in the year 1820. The reason for this behaviour is that activity in the rift zone happens in jumps. It is not even activity with long quiet periods between them. [Speculation] If I use basic maths to figure out when next peak in activity is going to start, it puts it down in the year 2020. If that is going to happen is something that remains to be seen.
Reference material in Icelandic
Sigurður Steinþórsson. „Er eldvirkni á Íslandi sveiflukennd?“. Vísindavefurinn 19.7.2000. http://visindavefur.is/?id=672. (Skoðað 29.5.2014).
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On 20-May-2014 an earthquake swarm started in Bárðarbunga volcano or a continuum of an earthquake swarm that started on 16-May-2014 as I wrote about here. This earthquake swarm was rather small, with the largest earthquake only having the magnitude of 2,8 according to reviewed results from Icelandic Meteorological Office.
The earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
This earthquake swarm activity seems to be due to minor dike intrusion into Bárðarbunga volcano at this location. It does not mean an eruption is about to take place. More earthquake activity might take place this location in next days to weeks.
Today (16-May-2014) a magnitude 3,7 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. The source of this earthquake is not clear, but this appears to be a magma injection into Bárðarbunga volcano. Such events do happen in Bárðarbunga volcano without starting an eruption.
The magnitude 3,7 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano. The earthquake took place where the green star is. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
The Bárðarbunga volcano earthquake as it appeared at my geophone station in Heklubyggð. This image is released under Creative Commons Licence. Please see CC Licence for more details.
There was around 20 aftershocks following this earthquake. Largest automatic magnitude was 2,6, but strongest reviewed earthquake activity so far had the magnitude of 2,5. More earthquake activity is most likely going to continue in this area. Earthquakes with this or stronger magnitude cannot be ruled out from happening. There is currently nothing suggesting that this is other then just normal earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano.
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