Continued risk of landslide in Ketilbjörg cliff in Skagafirði (North-West Iceland)

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There is now a increased risk of landslide in Ketilbjörg cliff. The area that is about to fall of is extremely dangerous, tourist have been seen going out on the part of the cliff that is about to break off. This cliff that is breaking off might fall into the coast below at any time without warning. Such thing has happened in popular tourist locations.

If you are travelling in this area of Iceland do not go out on this cliff. It is extremely dangerous since it can go loose without warning. If they have closed the area (as they say in the news that has been done), respect that closure.

Icelandic news – in Icelandic

Sprungan í Ketubjörgum stækkar (Rúv.is, Icelandic, old picture)
Lít­ur út fyr­ir að geta hrunið á hverri stundu (mbl.is, Icelandic, new picture)

Update 1: New image of the cliff that is about to break off can be found here in this news from Rúv. Other new cracks have also seen forming in the same area.

Article updated at 04:12 UTC on 25-July-2015.

Posted in Landslide | Comments Off on Continued risk of landslide in Ketilbjörg cliff in Skagafirði (North-West Iceland)

Increased ground heat measured in Surtsey island

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It was in the news yesterday (21-July-2015) that scientists have measured higher ground heat in Surtsey Island. The change is 10 degrees (Celsius) from measurements taken some two to three years ago. The theory is that the ground in Surtsey island started to warm up after an earthquake that happened last spring (2015). There have been few earthquakes in Vestmanneyjar volcano system during the past few years, no major swarms have taken place so far.

It is clear by the increased ground heat that magma is on the move in Vestmanneyjar volcano system. It’s too early to know if an eruption is going to take place in next few years. At the moment there is nothing imminent suggesting that is the case, volcanoes often warm up at the surface just too cool down. The largest risk now in Surtsey island are possible steam explosions. They are only risk to local bird and plant life in the summer time.

Icelandic News – in Icelandic

Nýjar tegundir finnast í Surtsey (Rúv.is)

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Posted in Dyke intrusions, Hydrothermal, Magma, Monitoring, Surtsey island, Vestmannaeyjar island, Volcano | Comments Off on Increased ground heat measured in Surtsey island

Earthquake swarm in Tungnafellsjökull volcano

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On Thursday 9-July-2015 an earthquake swarm started in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. So far around 50 earthquakes have been recorded in Tungnafellsjökull volcano, the earthquake swarm is currently ongoing. None of the earthquakes that have happened so far have reached magnitude 2,0 or stronger.

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Earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. The yellow dots show older earthquakes. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

It is my view that Tungnafellsjökull volcano is now preparing for eruption regardless of what Bárðarbunga volcano is going to do (it’s not over there, even if it is on a break at the moment). There is also problem with amount of time when this all started. It is clear that earthquake activity started to increase in Tungnafellsjökull volcano in the year 2012 and it has been increasing since that year. It is clear that with the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano it seems to have given Tungnafellsjökull volcano more energy and increased it’s activity, why and what the connection between the volcanoes remains unclear at the moment.

Current earthquake activity suggest that this is going to develop in similar way the weeks before the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. It is not going to be exactly the same, it is going to be close and a lot of earthquakes are going to take place once Tungnafellsjökull volcano starts to heat up for real. When that happens I do not know, this might be take several more years at the longest. There is also a good chance that nothing is going to happen at all.

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Posted in Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Tungnafellsjökull, Volcano | 14 Comments

Earthquake swarm on Reykjanes ridge yesterday (07-July-2015)

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Yesterday (07-July-2015) there was a small earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge. Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 3,3. Other earthquakes where smaller. At the moment it appears that the activity in this part of the Reykjanes ridge is over.

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The earthquake activity on the Reykjanes ridge yesterday. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

This activity also suggests that more earthquake swarm activity is going to take place in this or around it soon. When is impossible to know for sure.

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Posted in Earthquakes, Monitoring, Reykjanes Ridge, Swarm | 2 Comments

Earthquake activity in Western Fracture Zone (WFZ)

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Rare earthquake swarm has been taking place in Western Fracture Zone in Iceland. This fracture zone is between Western Volcanic Zone (WVZ) and Snæfellsnes volcanoes. It is mostly dormant with no earthquake activity at all. When earthquake activity happens it tends to be long and sometimes with earthquakes of magnitude up to 5,0. Earthquakes in this swarm have some been deep, with depth below 20 km (I don’t have exact number, forgot to document it).

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Earthquake activity on Western Fracture Zone (WFZ). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

It is difficult, due to lack of data to know for sure what is going on in this area. I do expect this earthquake swarm to continue for few more days at shortest, longest documented earthquake on WFZ lasted around two months and magnitude 4,0 earthquakes took place.

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Posted in Earthquakes, Monitoring, Swarm, Western Fracture Zone | 3 Comments

Earthquake swarm continues on Reykjanes ridge, small chance of eruption

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Today (01-July-2015) earthquake activity continued on the Reykjanes ridge, largest earthquakes so far are magnitude 5,0 (EMSC information here). Second largest earthquake had magnitude 4,8, other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude. Total of 35 earthquakes that have taken place are larger than magnitude 3,0 and total number of earthquakes when this is written is 537.

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Earthquake activity on the Reykjanes ridge. Green stars are earthquakes that are magnitude 3,0 or stronger. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

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Earthquake activity has dropped but is ongoing at the moment. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

Earthquake activity now happens in pulses, with low activity for 2 – 4 hours before it increases again. It is not clear why this is taking place. Overall earthquake activity is dropping at the moment, it might increase again without a warning.

Yellow alert for risk of eruption

The alert level for this volcano that is now making earthquake noise has been raised to yellow. The change happened during my working hours so I was unable to write about it right away. This means there is a risk of eruption at this location, last eruption in this location was in the year 1879 according to the information I have collected here.

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Current warning for the volcano at Eldey is yellow. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

I don’t know for sure at the moment what the chances are of an eruption at the moment. That should be clearer in next 24 – 48 hours (I hope).

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Article updated at 23:50 UTC.

Posted in Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Reykjanes Ridge, Swarm, Volcano | 10 Comments

Strong earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge

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Around 21:00 UTC today (30-June-2015) a strong earthquake swarm started on the Reykjanes ridge. So far the largest earthquake had the magnitude of 4,2, this has not been reviewed so it might be larger or smaller once reviewed.

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The earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge, this earthquake activity has not been reviewed yet by Iceland Meteorological Office. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

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The earthquake swarm is dense as can be seen on this image. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

It is possible to monitor the progress of the earthquake on my geophone in Heklubyggð here.

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Posted in Earthquakes, Reykjanes Ridge, Swarm | 17 Comments

Deep earthquakes in Bárðarbunga and Tungnafellsjökull volcanoes

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Even if the eruption in Holuhraun and Bárðarbunga volcano is over, there is no shortage of activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. With deepest earthquake in past 48 hours having the depth of 28,6 km and earthquakes don’t get a lot deeper than this in Bárðarbunga volcano. At this depth earthquake activity happens due to magma movements rather than tectonic stresses.

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Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano (red dots). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

Earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano

Since the end of the eruption and any major activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano has not stopped as expected. The earthquake activity continues at low levels and at great depth. With deepest earthquake in last 48 hours at 26,2 km.

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Earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano (yellow / orange dots). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

It is unclear what is going on in Tungnafellsjökull volcano, it is clear that dyke intrusion is taking place at depth, if and when that might result in a eruption is not clear at this moment. This might lead to an eruption or it might not. It is impossible to know at this moment since Tungnafellsjökull volcano has no recorded or documented history of volcano eruptions in historical times.

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Tungnafellsjökull, Volcano | 10 Comments

Earthquake warning for Reykjanes peninsula

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Icelandic Meteorological Office and Almannavarnir have issued a warning about possible large earthquake on the Reykjanes peninsula. This warning is triggered by the earthquake swarm in Krísuvík on 30-May-2015 and a second earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge on 11-June-2015.

Largest earthquakes in this earthquake sequence once it starts might reach magnitude of 6,5. There remains a hope that the stress on the Reykjanes peninsula and Reykjanes ridge is going to be released out slowly without large earthquake taking place. The warning only covers the populated part of the Reykjanes, from Kleifarvatn and east to Ölfus. It is my view that chance is small at best, it might work out that, I do think that is unlikely outcome of this. It is impossible to know when this earthquake activity might happen, but since the warning has been issued it might only be few weeks to month until something happens.

Last large earthquake in Bláfjöll mountains (Breinnisteinsfjöll volcano) took place in 1929 and 1968. Due to the area in question being less populated than it is today there was no or little damage. Current warning says the people should prepare to limit damage, since in past few years the populated areas have moved closer earthquake risk areas of the Reykjanes peninsula.

The warning (in Icelandic)

Skjálftavirkni á Reykjanesskaga (vedur.is, Icelandic Meteorological Office, Icelandic)
Fréttatilkynning vegna jarðskjálftavirkni að undanförnu á svæðinu frá Krísuvík austur í Ölfus (vedur.is, pdf, Icelandic)

Icelandic News

Vara við skjálfta til að draga úr slysahættu (Vísir.is, Icelandic, pictures)
Hætta á stórum skjálfta á Reykjavíkursvæðinu (Vísir.is, Icelandic)

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Article updated at 23:52 UTC.

Posted in Breinnisteinsfjöll, Earthquakes, Monitoring, Reykjanes, Reykjanes Ridge | 14 Comments

Glacier flood from Skaftárkatlar cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier

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Yesterday (16-June-2015) a small glacier flood started in Skaftárkatlar cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. The glacier flood can go up to 900m³/sec at its largest. The main risk from this glacier flood are the gases released into the air once the glacier water gets into the river, it is the advised that people stay away from the glacier rivers called Skaftá, it is also advised that people stay away from the edges of the glaciers named Skaftárjökull glacier, Tungárjökuls and Síðujökuls. It is unclear how big this glacier flood is going to be and from what cauldron is emptying, there is a good chance the cauldron that is emptying is the western one, since the eastern one empted last year and does not hold a lot of water at the moment.

Following this type of glacier flood a peak of harmonic tremor is detected from the cauldron that is emptying, it is thought that this is due to the hydrothermal vents (hot springs) that power those cauldrons start to boil when the pressure is released. There is a small chance eruption taking place in this area due to glacier flood when the pressure of the water is released, this is a chance, but it remains a small one.

Icelandic news

Skaftárhlaup líklega hafið (Rúv.is, Icelandic, Map)
Lítið Skaft­ár­hlaup lík­lega hafið (Mbl.is, Icelandic)
Skaftárhlaup mjög líklega hafið (Vísir.is, Icelandic, image)

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Article updated at 21:52 UTC.

Posted in Glacier flood, Monitoring, Skaftárkatlar cauldron, Toxic, Vatnajökull glacier | 5 Comments