Overview of the earthquake activity in Iceland of the last few days

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Over the past few days it has been quiet in Iceland. There hasn’t been overall lot happening. Biggest earthquake activity that is currently taking place is happening around 340 km north of Kolbeinsey Island (it’s a tiny Island, with nothing on it, not even birds make use of it).


The earthquake activity north of Kolbeinsey Island. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake have had the magnitude around 3,3.

Bárðarbunga volcano

Currently there isn’t much happening earthquake wise in Bárðarbunga volcano. Current earthquake activity has however exposed the ring fault in the caldera, suggesting that its moving upward at decent speed (few mm/month). This also means that Bárðarbunga volcano is inflating as is.


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

Deep earthquake activity is also around Trölladyngja (shield volcano). This deep earthquake under Trölladyngja is unusual and that is my view eruption might happen there soon. It is impossible to know when such a event happens.

Katla volcano

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano has been quiet. It is normal that earthquake activity drops in Katla volcano this time of the year. I’m expecting quiet few weeks in Katla volcano.


There is little earthquake activity in Katla volcano at the moment. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Hekla volcano

Two earthquakes appeared in Hekla volcano on 8-December-2016. No other activity happened after that.

Reykjanes ridge

A minor earthquake swarm took place on the Reykjanes ridge on 8-December-2016. Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,9.


Earthquake activity on the Reykjanes ridge. The earthquake swarm is where the blue dots are. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I think this is most of the earthquake activity that has happened in and around Iceland during the last few days. Due to software problems on my server and on my desktop computer I was unable to write an update about what was happening in earthquake activity for the past few days.

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Greenland sea, Iceland, Katla / Mýrdalsjökull, Monitoring, Reykjanes Ridge | 2 Comments

Magnitude 3,2 earthquake in Katla volcano

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Today (29-November-2016) at 19:55 UTC a magnitude 3,2 earthquake took place in Katla volcano. The strongest aftershock so far had the magnitude of 2,7. No other activity has appeared in Katla volcano following this earthquake at the moment.

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The green star shows where the magnitude 3,2 earthquake took place in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquakes in Katla volcano happen due to magma changes, mostly pressure changes in the magma chambers that have inflated the volcano over a long period of time. Recent increase in earthquake activity suggests that new magma is flowing into the magma chambers at shallow depth inside the caldera. That is increasing the pressure levels and the earthquake activity at the same time.

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Posted in Earthquakes, Katla / Mýrdalsjökull, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 55 Comments

Deep earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano

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Over the past few hours a sequence of deep earthquakes has been taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano. The depth of those earthquakes is from 19 km and up to 11 km, how they spread out suggesting a dyke intrusion in Bárðarbunga volcano fissure swarm or on the edge of the volcano.

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The deep earthquakes taking place almost south of the main caldera in Bárðarbunga volcano (few blue/yellow dots). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Deep earthquake activity suggests that fresh magma is pushing into the volcano at more pressure than in past few days. The clues about this happening have been the stronger earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano over the past few weeks. New dykes can also form without warning and start an eruption if the pressure is enough in them, such eruption might not last long, not even a whole day in some cases.

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 8 Comments

Increase in earthquakes in Katla volcano

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During the past few days there has been a slight increase in earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Largest earthquakes in the past few days have reached magnitude 2,8. At the moment larger earthquakes have not happened in Katla volcano.

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The earthquake activity in Katla volcano over the past few days. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Interestingly there seems to be a concentration of earthquakes on the east side of the caldera, close to the area that erupted in the year 1918. This might be a clue to where in the caldera next eruption is going to happen, since magma seems to “bore” its way trough the crust and in many occasions that leads to a swarm of small earthquakes [note: This is not confirmed in any scientific way or by a study, this is just my observation of this phenomena]. Currently the earthquake activity in Katla volcano is small, compared to how much activity was taken place between end of August and mid-October. I suspect that current level of earthquake activity is going to continue until next spring.

Conductivity in few glacier rivers around Mýrdalsjökull glacier continue to be high, suggesting that new hydrothermal vents have opened up under the glacier inside the caldera. This type of warm-up in a volcano is not a good sign and is a clear sign that magma is now shallow in the caldera. For magma to warm ground water up to this levels, it needs to be less than 1 km up in the crust. This is a shallow depth for magma in a volcano.

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Posted in Earthquakes, Katla / Mýrdalsjökull, Magma, Monitoring, Volcano | 8 Comments

New swarm of earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano

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During the night (26-November-2016) a swarm of earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. Largest earthquake had the magnitude of 3,8 other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.

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The magnitude 3,8 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano (green star). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

On 22-November-2016 a magnitude 3,6 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. That earthquake took place in the south-west part of the caldera, close to the place where the dyke broke out in 2014.

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The magnitude Mw3,6 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano on 22-November-2016. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This type of earthquake activity is now so common in Bárðarbunga volcano that I can’t write about them all. If I did write about them all, there would be nothing but articles about Bárðarbunga volcano on this website.

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 34 Comments

Strong earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano

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During the early hours of 19-November-2016 a strong earthquake swarm took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is the strongest earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano for a long time now. Strongest earthquake had the magnitude of 4,0, other magnitudes where 3,5 and 3,1. All other magnitudes where smaller.

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

This earthquake activity suggests that pressure is increasing fast inside the volcano. I don’t know how much Bárðarbunga volcano has inflated since September-2015 but that must be considerable amount since a earthquake of magnitude 4,0 means a slip of few millimetres (I don’t have the information of much movement happens when a earthquake happen. I didn’t find the data about it). Over the past one year there has been a lot of earthquakes taken place in the Bárðarbunga volcano caldera, suggesting a rapid inflation of the volcano. It is not known if this is going to result in a eruption soon or sometimes later, all that is known is that magma is flowing into shallow magma chamber from deep within the volcano.

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Article updated at 22:42 UTC. Added a missing part.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Inflation, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 41 Comments

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

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The regular earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continued on 18-November-2016. This activity has now been going on for 1 year plus few more weeks, at the moment it has slowed down a bit from when it was most active. I don’t know why that is, but the earthquakes are because magma is flowing into shallow magma chambers in Bárðarbunga volcano.

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

Largest earthquake in yesterdays (18-November-2016) earthquake swarm had the magnitude of 3,0. Other earthquakes so far have been smaller in magnitude. The activity appears to be mostly over by now, but it might resume at any moment since magma inflow and changes connected to it cannot be predicted.

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | 9 Comments

Earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

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On 18-November-2016 a minor earthquake swarm took place in Katla volcano. This was a minor earthquake swarm with largest magnitude around 2,5. At the moment the earthquake activity appears to have ended, it might resume at later time.

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Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The earthquake activity is in a area that had a minor eruption in the year 1999. There has not been a major eruption in this part of the caldera for a long time according to historical data. It is possible that last major eruption in this area took place in the year 1245, but that eruption is not properly documented due to old age of the historical documents.

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Posted in Earthquakes, Katla / Mýrdalsjökull, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano | Comments Off on Earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

Minor earthquake swarm on TFZ

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Today (14-November-2016) a minor earthquake swarm started on TFZ (Tjörnes Fracture Zone). Largest earthquake so far has the magnitude of 3,2, other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude.

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

So far this earthquake swarm has not been big and it doesn’t look like its going to develop into a big earthquake swarm at the moment. In other parts of Iceland everything is quiet, with just one off or few earthquakes happening in each location.

Posted in Earthquakes, Monitoring, Swarm, TFZ | 24 Comments

Magnitude 3,5 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

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Today (11-November-2016) a magnitude 3,5 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake, like so many before it, is due to inflation of the volcano that started in September-2015. This is going to be happening for a long time now, since last earthquake sequence that started this way started in 1973 and lasted until 1996 (science paper on it can be found here). After that it was quiet for few year until 2010-ish years before the eruption started in 2014.

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

This inflation and earthquake activity is going to lead to an eruption one day. When that is going to happen is impossible to know until it happens.

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Earthquakes, Inflation, Magma, Monitoring, Volcano | 14 Comments