Update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 14:37 UTC

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This is a short update on Bárðarbunga volcano activity.

Little has changed since yesterday (18-August-2014) in Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity has been moving east and north-east since yesterday but continues at same rate as before. It is not clear why that is, but is getting close to Kverkfjöll volcano, but at the moment the earthquake swarm is inside a fissure swarm that belongs to Bárðarbunga volcano. I do not know what happens if magma from Bárðarbunga volcano gets into contact with magma in Kverkfjöll volcano.

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Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano during the past 48 hours. During the past 24 hours (when this is written) no earthquake has had magnitude above 3,0. Copyright of image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Earthquake activity remains heavy in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

No major earthquake has taken place during the past 24 hours (when this is written). This means that no earthquake so far has reached the magnitude above 3,0.

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Harmonic tremor remains high in Bárðarbunga volcano, even if there is no eruption taking place at the moment. Copyright of image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The harmonic tremor clearly shows the pulse activity that is taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano, when the earthquake activity drops, so does the tremor. When the harmonic tremor increases, earthquake activity increases soon after it. Sometimes earthquake activity increases before an increase in the harmonic tremor takes place.

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GPS data from University of Iceland clearly shows the amount of magma that is flowing into Bárðarbunga volcano system at the moment. More plots can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

The GPS data shows how fast this inflation now is. This data is just for few days. I am expecting more inflation to take place in the next few days. How much inflation is needed before an eruption starts I do not know.

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Same pattern of change can be seen in GPS data on Grímsfjall volcano. More plots can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

There are no signs of this activity stopping. When this is going to results in an eruption I do not know. For people looking for web cameras of Bárðarbunga volcano, a new web camera has now been set-up by Míla communication company in Iceland. It sends out live from Bárðarbunga volcano (as close they can get to it). The web camera can be viewed here.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dike intrusions, Earthquakes, Harmonic tremors, Inflation, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 18 Comments

Orange alert level declared for Bárðarbunga volcano

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This is short update on Bárðarbunga volcano. Due to ever changing nature of this events this information is going to get outdated quickly.

Icelandic Met Office has moved the warning level for air traffic up to Orange level (see here). GPS measurement have confirmed magma movements inside Bárðarbunga volcano and this movement is fast.

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GPS data from University of Iceland. This data shows how fast the change has been in the past few days. More GPS data can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

Earthquake activity has remained about the same, with regular fluctuation in activity. Overall however the activity has remained constant.

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

The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano has been migrating to the north-east over the past 10 to 18 hours. The activity close to Dyngjuháls appears to be stable at that location for the moment. Earthquake activity in other parts of Bárðarbunga have quieted down for the moment, that might change without warning.

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Earthquake activity has remained stable in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Harmonic tremor levels have remained stable since this started. They do drop a little in sync with the drop in earthquake activity.

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The harmonic tremor at Dyngjuháls SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Kreppuhaun SIL station shows the harmonic tremor also. Along with interesting jump in the past hour of harmonic tremor activity. I am not sure why that is. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Vonaskarð SIL stations shows pattern that is close to what appears on Kreppuhraun SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I am not sure why the harmonic tremor levels are what they are at the moment. Since no eruption has started. This might be due to changes in hydro-thermal areas under the glacier, or there might be some other reason for this that is not known to me.

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Drum plot that Icelandic Met Office has on-line are showing interesting activity. Around 11:00 UTC there is a string of earthquakes, following this activity a increase in harmonic tremor takes place. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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This can also be seen on Dyngjuháls SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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This also appears clearly on Kreppuhraun SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

As for amount of earthquake detected today, so far the amount recorded today is around the same as yesterday, might even be slightly higher.

Updated at 16:43 UTC.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dike intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Glacier flood, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Inflation, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 29 Comments

Magnitude 3,3 earthquake in Kverkfjöll volcano

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A minor earthquake swarm took place in Kverkfjöll volcano today (17-August-2014). This earthquake swarm might have been triggered by the earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano that is next to it, that is however not confirmed and can be considered a speculation. Since connections between volcanoes is difficult to prove. The earthquake had the magnitude of 3,3 and depth of 9,5 km. This earthquake was felt by summer tourists in the area of Kverkfjöll volcano.

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The green star in the Kverkfjöll volcano system shows the location of the earthquake. Kverkfjöll volcano are located were the “W” shape of the Vatnajökull glacier appears. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

No other activity has been detected from Kverkfjöll volcano today and that volcano appears to be quiet, even if it has a noise neighbour at the moment. I am not expecting more activity in Kverkfjöll volcano, but it cannot be ruled out at this moment.

Update at 23:27 UTC.

Posted in Earthquakes, Kverkfjöll, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 2 Comments

Update on activity in Bárðarbunga at 18:13 UTC

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This is a update on the activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. This information might get outdated quickly as things change.

Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano with no signs of stopping. Since midnight the total earthquake count for Iceland has now reached 578 (at 18:14 UTC) this number gets outdated quickly due the continuous earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. The total amount of earthquakes recorded yesterday was around 480 for the whole day, so it seems that earthquake activity has increased today from what it was yesterday. It is possible to see the largest earthquakes on my geophone website here. I want to note that my geophones are both more then 100 km away from Bárðarbunga volcano, so only the largest earthquakes appear on my geophones.

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The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. It has now moved into two groups of activity. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The earthquakes are forming an line south-south-east in Bárðarbungu volcano. I don’t know why that is, but this might be a feature of the SIL network, rather then actual alignment of the earthquakes. There also chance that the earthquakes really are aligning them self into a line like this.

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Earthquake activity continues to be dense. A minor drop in activity was seen around 12:00 UTC, but it increased again around 13:00 UTC. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There has been little drop in activity, besides the drop in activity seen around 12:00 UTC, that drop in activity however only lasted for about one hour, maybe less. There has overall not been much change in activity during the past 24 hours. I don’t know if that is going to change, but for the moment there are no signs of the activity slowing down.

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Harmonic tremor at Dyngjuhálsi SIL station. It moves up and down with the earthquake activity. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Harmonic tremor at Vonaskarð SIL station. It shows the changes in activity as other SIL stations around Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There are interesting theories on why the harmonic tremor is as it is. Currently there is nothing to suggest that an large eruption has taken place, there is a chance that a small eruption started all this, but I expect by now that it is over if it took place. It has not been confirmed. There is also a chance that earthquake activity is so high in Bárðarbunga volcano that it is registering as continuous harmonic tremor. It does not happen often, but it can happen. There is also chance that the harmonic tremor is due to boiling of hydrothermal systems in Bárðarbunga volcano, or something other related to magma under heavy pressure. Whatever the reason for this tremor, it’s there and an eruption does not seems to be the reason behind it.

Visual observations have now been made of Bárðarbunga volcano and nothing has been seen on the surface of the glacier. Scientists are also installing new monitoring hardware and a web-camera on Bárðarbunga volcano in order to get proper visual observations of the volcano when something happens. I don’t expect the web-camera to be a public at the moment.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dike intrusions, Earthquakes, Harmonic tremors, Kverkfjöll, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 6 Comments

Short update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 02:12 UTC

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This is a short update on Bárðarbunga volcano activity.

Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano and shows no signs of slowing down. Two swarms have appeared in Bárðarbunga volcano system. One is at location called Kistufell, while the second one is at the south-east part of the Bárðarbunga volcano. Increase in earthquake activity in south-east part of Bárðarbunga volcano seems to increase harmonic tremor. I am not sure why that is. As of now (when this is written) no eruption has been confirmed in Bárðarbunga volcano, the volcano is under glacier so confirmation is difficult at best.

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Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. The two groups of earthquake swarms are visible on this map. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Earthquake activity has been dense as can be seen here. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Harmonic tremor remains high on the Dyngjuháls SIL station. Why that is not clear at the moment. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Harmonic tremor remains high at Vonarskarð SIL station. It has dropped little during the day, but it remains constant at current time. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

So far no major eruption has started in Bárðarbunga volcano. That might change without warning as this activity continues. There is a risk of large earthquakes taking place before such eruption. Since the crust in this part of Iceland is thick (up to 40 km thick) and last eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano took place in the year 1794. The eruption in the year 1910 took place in a volcano named Hamarinn and is south-west of Bárðarbunga volcano. Fissure eruptions are also a feature that Bárðarbunga volcano has, if this activity is going to result in such eruption is something that is impossible to know at current time.

Current status changes fast. I post new information on this activity as needed and as things get more clearer on what is happening.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dike intrusions, Earthquakes, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 15 Comments

Short update Bárðarbunga volcano at 17:52 UTC

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This is a short update on current status on Bárðarbunga volcano.

Uncertainty level has been declared on Bárðarbunga volcano and it status has been raised to yellow. There are fluxuation in earthquake activity, this is normal since earthquake activity in volcanoes is never close to constant in this type of situations. There is also a storm taking place in the area at the moment, that is lowering what is detected by the SIL stations that are close to Bárðarbunga volcano.

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The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Green stars show earthquake larger than magnitude 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Largest earthquakes recorded so far have the magnitude of 3,1 and 3,5. There is a chance that more magnitude 3,0 have taken place but have not been reviewed yet by geologist at Icelandic Meteorological Office due the amount of earthquakes taking place at the moment.

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As can be seen here the earthquake swarm is dense. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

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Harmonic tremor in Dyngjuháls SIL station. It has been dropping in the past few hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

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Harmonic tremor in Vonarskarð SIL station. The drop in harmonic tremor also appears clearly here. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

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Harmonic tremor in Húsbóndi SIL station. The drop in harmonic tremor also appears here clearly. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

In the past few hours the harmonic tremors around Bárðarbunga volcano have been dropping slowly. The drop in harmonic tremor has not been followed by drop in earthquake activity. At least that is not the case when this is written. This means that the magma that is on the move there still has not yet found a pathway to the surface, even if some small part of it has done so in possibly in one or two eruptions vents under the thick glacier. If the harmonic tremor stops completely without the earthquake activity stopping it means that magma is still on the move there and it might look for a new pathway to the surface. When and where that might happen is impossible to know at current time, but once the magma has clear path to the surface, even if it is under a glacier all earthquake activity is going to stop (for most part).

I am going to post more information when more details are available.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dike intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Glacier flood, Harmonic tremors, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Vatnajökull glacier, Volcano | Leave a comment

Unconfirmed eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano

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This information is going to get outdated quickly as more information is collected on this activity.

During all last week (Week 33) there has been a minor earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano. No other activity followed this minor earthquake activity during the week until last night (16-August-2014). During the night (around 02:20 UTC) a harmonic tremor started to appear on SIL stations around Bárðarbunga volcano. Following the appearance of the harmonic tremor earthquake activity started around 03:30 UTC. Largest earthquakes in this swarm have magnitude around 3,0 so far. Depth is around 5 to 10 km. During the night the earthquake swarm moved around in the volcano and is now more east then it first started. According to Rúv news the glacier around this part of Vatnajökull glacier is around 700 meters thick, so it going to take a major eruption to break the ice. This however also means that when a glacier flood starts in this area there is a high risk that is going to be large.

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The largest earthquake that I did record during the night. This image is released under CC Licence. Please see CC Licence page for more details.

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The earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano at 11:45 UTC. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

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Harmonic tremor on Dyngjuháls SIL station. This SIL stations is closest to the area of activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

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Harmonic tremor on Vonaskarð SIL station. This is one of the SIL station that is closest to the area of activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Currently the activity in Bárðabunga volcano is not stable, it does fluctuate a little. Besides this minor fluctuation it seems stable. Based on harmonic tremor signal and its range this does not appear to be a large eruption so far. That might change without warning. I do however expect larger earthquakes before any major volcano eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano. What seems to have happened is that a dike intrusion got to the surface and started this eruption, even if it is just small one at current time.

I am going to post update soon as more information gets available. This situation is going to change quickly and without much warning.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dike intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Glacier flood, Harmonic tremors, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 3 Comments

Earthquake swarm in Hveravellir

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Two days ago (13-August-2014) an minor earthquake swarm took place in Hvervellir (volcano). Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,5. All the earthquakes that happened had depth less then of 10 km.

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Earthquake swarm in Hveravellir (blue dots). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Earthquake activity is fairly common in this area. It however works in a short activity periods with long quiet period between them. So far nothing suggest that major earthquake activity is going to take place there, as has happened in the past. If that happens, the largest earthquakes can go up to magnitude 5,0.

Posted in Earthquakes, Hveravellir, Monitoring, Swarm | 5 Comments

Intra-plate earthquakes in north west Iceland

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During the night of 12-August-2014 several intra-plate earthquake took place in north west Iceland. Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 1,5. This earthquake activity did appear poorly on my geophone in Böðvarshólar. That is due to distance and small magnitude of the earthquakes, but my geophone at Böðvarshólar did detected this earthquake activity and from that I know that more earthquake activity took place than appears on Icelandic Meteorological Office maps.

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The earthquakes in north west Iceland (yellow). This are intra-plate earthquakes. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

This earthquake activity is not connected to any known fault zone or any known faults. That however does not mean they are not there. It is impossible to know if there is going to be more earthquake activity in this region. This is however second time this year a earthquake swarm takes place in this area, last one took place in week 28 (in Icelandic). That week the largest earthquake had the magnitude of 1,6.

Posted in Earthquakes, Intra-Plate, Swarm | Leave a comment

Minor earthquake swarm in Krísuvík volcano

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Yesterday (11-August-2014) a minor earthquake swarm took place in Krísuvík volcano. The largest earthquake in this minor earthquake swarm had the magnitude of 3,4 with the depth of 4,4 km. Only few minor earthquakes took place after the largest earthquake.

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The earthquake swarm in Krísuvík volcano, the green star shows the location of the magnitude 3,4 earthquake. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

There is a risk of more earthquake activity in this area. Since earthquake swarms are known to start with minor activity that slowly grows until it tops and then slowly drops over a period of days or weeks. It might not happen now, but this is a common pattern on the Reykjanes.

Posted in Earthquakes, Krýsuvík, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | Comments Off