For the past two days swarm of earthquakes have been taking place in Hengill volcano. Looking at the earthquake swarm it might look like something was about to happen in this volcano. The fact is however that nothing is happening in the volcano, this earthquake swarm is entirely human made. Largest earthquakes so far have had the magnitude of 3,0 (x2), 3,2 (x1), 3,6 (x1). Over 300 earthquakes in total have happened so far, most less than magnitude 1,0 few dozen above magnitude 2,0.
The earthquake swarm as it was at 19:20 UTC. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
Source of this activity is water pumping into the ground. The hydro-thermal electric plant (it also serves hot water to Reykjavík area and other towns nearby) does that with unwanted waste water, since that water is full of toxic chemicals. The hot water used in hot taps and showers in Reykjavík now is warmed up cold water (they use thermal exchangers to do this, some houses have this unit installed inside the house).
This earthquake swarm is currently on-going and if anything major happens I will update this article.
Weather warning for Thursday 22-September-2016
It appears that a strong low pressure system is on its way to Iceland and is going to at the south coast on 22-September-2016. I don’t have a exact time at the moment. This might the first real storm in Iceland this fall. More weather details are going to appear tomorrow as the forecast gets better.
Two earthquakes with magnitude above 3,0 have taken place in Bárðarbunga volcano. The earlier earthquake had the magnitude of 3,8 and the second earthquake had the magnitude of 3,8. Other minor earthquakes also happened.
Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
This type of earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano has been going on for months already. What has mostly changed over the last four months is the magnitude of the earthquakes. The rate they are happening is about the same at the moment, once to twice a week currently. I don’t expect this to change until it does.
Today at 12:19 UTC an earthquake swarm started in Katla volcano. This has been mostly normal earthquake activity for Katla volcano, with earthquakes that are small in magnitude and most not reaching magnitude 2,0. Largest earthquake took place at 15:57 UTC and was a magnitude 3,0 and at magnitude 16:12 UTC and had the magnitude of 3,3.
The earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
It is difficult to know if this earthquake activity was due to change in hydrothermal systems that exist in this area or due to magma or gas pressure changes. No harmonic tremor changes have taken place following this earthquake activity. Since the largest earthquakes happened the activity has quieted down considerably. This earthquake activity or a new one might start without warning in Katla volcano.
For the past 48 hours (7th and 8th September-2016) an earthquake swarm took place in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. As earlier earthquake swarms this swarm has a small one, with only few dozen of earthquakes and the largest one only having the magnitude of 2,9. Most depth in this earthquake swarm was around 12 km.
The earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
For the moment nothing suggests that an eruption is about to start in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. This volcano doesn’t have any recorded history of eruptions and that makes it impossible to know when next eruption cycle starts in it. Current earthquake activity started in the year 2012 and has continued since then, with long period of quiet between times of activity.
Yesterday (06-September-2016) and today (07-September-2016) deep earthquake activity happened in Bárðarbunga volcano system. Most depth was at 25,9km in Trölladyngja, it is one of several deep earthquakes that have happened in that area. Few earthquakes at depth of 20,8 km took place in Bárðarbunga volcano (outside of the caldera).
The deep earthquakes on this image are at south-east to Bárðarbunga (in the direction of Grímsvötn, north-east of Grímsvötn) and in Trölladyngja (one blue dot). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
In Iceland earthquakes at this depth only happens due to movement of magma. Crust stresses do have effects at this depth far as I know. At the moment no magnitude 3,0 earthquakes have happened in Bárðarbunga, that might be unusual since normally after a swarm of deep earthquake few strong earthquakes happens in Bárðarbunga. That has at time of writing of this article not happened. If that happens remains to be seen. I got the feeling there might be something more in the works, but I’m going to wait and see what is going on now. At least wait for a word from Iceland Met Office about what is going on, if anything is going on at all.
All that can be done now is to wait for what happens next. (This is what geology is mostly about, endless waiting for something to happen.)
Early this morning (7-September-2016) an earthquake with the magnitude of 3,5 took place in Katla volcano. There was little earthquake activity before the main earthquake and after it, since this morning activity has remained low.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake activity is in the same area of the magnitude 4,9 earthquake two weeks ago. No harmonic tremor has been detected following this earthquake. I don’t know if anything more is going to happen. All that can be done is to wait and see what happens next.
There seems to be a harmonic tremor pulse or a change around Grímsfjall volcano. This might be nothing, but the change appears on several SIL stations around Vatnajökull glacier. The harmonic tremor is strongest on Húsbóndi SIL station and Jökulheimar SIL station. This might be something else then magma, glacier movement or sudden flood are an possibility.
Húsbóndi SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Jökulheimar SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Currently I don’t know what is creating this change in harmonic tremor. I know it is not weather and this is on too many SIL station to be local noise. The SIL station at Grímsfjall volcano doesn’t show any change, so everything is quiet in that volcano. But this is within Grímsfjall volcano fissure swarm that contains the volcano Þórðarhyrna, it last erupted in the year 1902 and has been quiet since (information about eruptions in Þórðarhyrna volcano can be found under Grímsfjall volcano eruption history).
If anything happens I’ll update this article or post a new one.
On 02-September-2016 two earthquakes with the magnitude 3,3 and 3,5 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. The magnitude was 3,3 for the earlier earthquake and 3,5 for the second earthquake.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This type of earthquake activity is so common now in Bárðarbunga volcano that I rarely bother now to write about it. This type of earthquakes now happen once to twice in Bárðarbunga volcano each week. The reason for this earthquake activity are stress changes in the caldera. This is I suspect going to take a long time, I’m looking at years of this type of earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga. What also makes this more complicated is the rifting currently taking place inside the volcano and on nearby fissures. The results of this mixture might get interesting in the future.
Today (30-August-2016) an earthquake swarm started in Bárðarbunga volcano. The earthquake swarm took place in the caldera of Bárðarbunga volcano, as has been the case for the past few months. Nothing suggests that magma is on the move or that eruption is imminent, this seems to be tectonic or tectonic related activity in Bárðarbunga volcano after the eruption in 2014, that ended in February 2015.
The earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano. Green stars are earthquakes larger then magnitude 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
Largest earthquakes so far have the magnitude of 3,8 (at 13:33 UTC) and 3,4 (at 16:58 UTC), other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude. The reason for this earthquakes is inflow of magma at depth (more than 10 km) into Bárðarbunga volcano. This is creating stress changes higher up in the crust, resulting in earthquake swarms. More earthquakes can be expected from Bárðarbunga volcano in next few hours to days. This type of earthquake activity almost happens weekly at the moment and that has been the activity pattern since September-2015. I’m not expecting any change in this activity pattern for next few months.
Yesterday (29-August-2016) an magnitude 3,4 earthquake took place on Reykjanes Peninsula, this earthquake was felt due to how close it was to populated area.
Green star shows the location of the earthquake. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
No other earthquakes have followed this earthquake. Some minor earthquake happened before the main earthquake, no other activity has happened after the main earthquake.