Yesterday (01-October-2017) an earthquake swarm took place in Tjörnes Fracture Zone east of Grímesy Island. Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,6 all other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.
The earthquake swarm in Tjörnes Fracture Zone yesterday. Copyright of this image belong to Icelandic Met Office.
Around 55 earthquakes happened in this swarm that appears to be over. This part of Tjörnes Fracture Zone is highly active and has several earthquake swarm every year.
On 28 and 29th of September 2017 an earthquake activity took place in Öræfajökull volcano. Most of the earthquake that have happened are minor in magnitude, one magnitude 2,5 earthquake took place and on 29th September a magnitude 2,0 earthquake took place, this is automatic magnitude and might not be correct. The depth of this earthquake is the default one (1,1km).
The earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
It is extremely difficult to know what this earthquake activity means if it means anything at all. The reason being that this might be part of Öræfajökull volcano normal activity that is not going to result in a eruption. There currently is no way to know for sure what this means, since last eruption took place in the year 1728 and proper monitoring of Öræfajökull volcano only started few years ago. Current activity is however slightly above normal background activity that can be expected from a volcano like Öræfajökull volcano.
Yesterday (28-September-2017) a earthquake swarm has been taking place west of Langjökull glacier, it is close to a volcano named Presthnjúkar. It is the same system and inside its fissure swarm. The area in question has known faults from the modern era (12.000 years).
The earthquake activity west of Langjökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Largest earthquakes that happened had the magnitude of 2,8 and 3,1 both where felt by staff of a tourist company that operates in this area. There is no permanent population in this part of Iceland. I don’t know when this area last erupted.
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Since this volcanoes are in the same part of Iceland I am going to write about them in the same article.
I don’t think this was a glacier earthquake activity happening in Öræfajökull volcano. I don’t know how many earthquakes took place this time around. Largest earthquakes had magnitude of 2,0 and 1,8 all other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude. Currently there is no GPS monitoring for Öræfajökull volcano that I know of.
The earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano and Kverlfjöll volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
It is noticing how this time the earthquake swarm is all on the east side of the volcano. This earthquake activity is interesting and this also seems to signal an increase in earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano at least for the time being. It remains a question if this activity slows down again. Earthquake activity in this part of Iceland only happens due stress changes in Öræfajökull volcano. This is most likely influx of magma into Öræfajökull volcano but it might not erupt right away or at all (at least for a long time).
A minor earthquake swarm took place in Kverkfjöll volcano today (23-September-2017). Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,1 and the second strongest earthquake had a magnitude of 1,4. The earthquake swarm was in the central part of the volcano. This is the first earthquake swarm since 2015 in Kverkfjöll volcano and the activity that year was mostly due the activity happening in Bárðarbunga volcano next to it (the dike from Bárðarbunga volcano did disturb Kverkfjöll volcano). Since this earthquake activity took place everything has been quiet in Kverkfjöll volcano.
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Today (17-September-2017) at 14:23 UTC two magnitude 3,9 earthquakes happened in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake activity was at the north-east part of Bárðarbunga volcano caldera where earthquake activity has been taking place since September-2015. This earthquake activity is happening due to inflation in Bárðarbunga volcano.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Since September-2015 the rate of activity has been dropping. Now earthquake swarm happens every 11 – 18 days or so. Currently there are no clear signs that an eruption is imminent.
Small note on Þórðarhyrna volcano
On the map above a small earthquake with magnitude of 1,3 can be seen in a volcano named Þórðarhyrna. That volcano is part of Grímsfjall volcano system. Last confirmed eruption in Þórðarhyrna volcano was in the year 1902 (December) and it lasted until 12th January 1904. Not many earthquakes happen in Þórðarhyrna volcano and that suggests that an eruption might happen in this volcano without much warning. The eruption before 1902 – 1904 eruption was in 1887 and that eruption lasted until 1889. Suggesting that when eruption happen in Þórðarhyrna volcano they are long lasting and create a lot of damage as this volcano is completely covered with glacier. I make note of this because I suspect that Þórðarhyrna volcano might erupt without much warning in next few years.
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There has been increasing earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano in recent months. This increase is slow but it seems to be happening at faster phase to my surprise. For the first time the earthquake activity forms a direction along a fault line (it looks like a fault line) the direction of the fault line is east-west.
The earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano (south part of Vatnajökull glacier). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This was a minor earthquake activity in terms of magnitude of earthquakes happening. With largest earthquakes only having magnitude 2,2 and all other earthquakes smaller in magnitude. Last eruption in Öræfajökull volcano took place in 1727 August 3 and ended 10 months later on 1728 May 1 +- 30 days. That eruption was a VEI=4 in size. For comparison the last eruption in Grímsvötn volcano in 2011 was also a VEI=4. I don’t know how this activity in Öræfajökull volcano is going to evolve, what seems to be clear that unlike Eyjafjallajökull volcano this change is happening a lot faster in Öræfajökull volcano then in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Those two volcanoes are comparable of structure and volcano output (Eyjafjallajökull volcano 2010 eruption was also VEI=4). If an eruption happens in Öræfajökull volcano I would expect similar flight disruption as happened during the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano. At the moment, there doesn’t seems to be any major risk of eruption in Öræfajökull volcano.
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Yesterday (10-September-2017) at 21:40 UTC a magnitude (Mw) 5,9 earthquake (EMSC information here) took place deep south on the Reykjanes ridge. No aftershocks have appeared on USGS or EMSC that I am aware of. They must have happened but due to distance from land this earthquake activity was not detected.
The magnitude 5.9 earthquake deep on the Reykjanes ridge as it appeared on my geophone in Böðvarshólar. This image is under Creative Commons licence. Please see CC licence page for more details.
The magnitude 5.9 earthquake deep on the Reykjanes ridge as it appeared on my geophone in Heklubyggð. This image is under Creative Commons licence. Please see CC licence page for more details.
The distance this earthquake took place from Reykjavík is 1004 km. Only thing it did was to scare some fish at most. It is impossible to know if anything more happens at this location. It might or it might not.
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Article updated on 12-September-2017 at 00:56 UTC. Added a link that I had forgotten.
This is a special report on the magnitude Mw8.1 earthquake in Mexico.
It appears that the reason for the Mw8.1 earthquake in Mexico that part of the plate above the subduction zone broke during this earthquake (?). At the moment details on this is a bit unclear, but earlier research (link) might give more details on this. I did observe this earthquake on all my geophones and this earthquake was seen on Icelandic Met Office SIL stations across Iceland.
Here is how the Mw8.1 earthquake appeared on my geophones. The signal is filtered at 0.1Hz.
The Mw8.1 earthquake in Mexico as it appeared on my geophone in Böðvarshólar, Iceland. This image is under Creative Commons licence, please see CC Licence page for more details.
The Mw8.1 earthquake in Mexico as it appeared on my geophone in Heklubyggð, Iceland. This image is under Creative Commons licence, please see CC Licence page for more details.
The Mw8.1 earthquake in Mexico as it appeared on my geophone in Bov, Denmark. This image is under Creative Commons licence, please see CC Licence page for more details.
There continues to be a high risk for strong aftershocks in this area. At least one or two magnitude 7,0 aftershocks should be expected, but they have not yet happened.
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During the night of 7-September-2017 strong earthquake swarm happened in Bárðarbunga volcano. Largest earthquake had the magnitude of 4,5 and the second largest earthquake had the magnitude of 4,1. Other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude. This is the strongest earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano since August-2017.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake swarm was in north-east part of the Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. This area of the volcano has been earthquake active since August-2014 when current period of activity started. This time around no harmonic tremor was detected. That might not always be the case since it is my view that there is a risk of small short lived eruptions now in Bárðarbunga volcano with connected glacier floods. This time around it just didn’t happen.
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I am going to link to an article I am going to write in next few hours on a other website that I have. It contains information about future plans regarding this website (this is a 5 to 10 year plan I am making).
During the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano and the collapse of the caldera. A hydrothermal activity was seen on top of Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. Since the eruption in Holuhraun ended in February-2015 this hydrothermal activity has dropped, it has increased if anything. At the moment there are several depressions in the Vatnajökull glacier that is on top of Bárðarbunga volcano. Largest of them are 400 meters wide, I am not sure about their length. This cauldrons are around 100 meters deep and for the first time in several hundreds of years have exposed a bed rock that is normally under the glacier. Hydrothermal activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is now such that is able to melt 100 meters of glacier in several months.
This high amount of hydrothermal activity in the main volcano increases my suspicion that Bárðarbunga volcano is far from over. Since this also means that fresh magma is reaching up to 1 km in the crust in the Bárðarbunga volcano caldera rim. I don’t have any map of the locations of the calderas at the moment since none exist or at least has not yet been published. The main concern now is that this is going to increase the risk of sudden glacier floods from Bárðarbunga volcano. This might also increase the risk of sudden short volcano eruptions in Bárðarbunga volcano, either in its slopes or close to the caldera rim. As it is clear that magma has rather clear access to that part of the volcano.
Rúv News article (in Icelandic)
Gat í gegnum jökulinn (Rúv.is, Icelandic, video)
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Article updated at 23:51 UTC. Text fixes.