Yesterday (10-12-2017) a earthquake swarm started in Skjaldbreið shield volcano (in Global Volcanism program this area is under Presthnjúkar area). Currently the earthquake swarm is ongoing. This activity started on Friday with few earthquakes and started in full force when the magnitude 3,5 earthquake happened. Largest earthquake so far had the magnitude of 3,8 and was felt as was the first earthquake that happened.
Earthquake activity in Skjaldbreið shield volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
At the moment the number of earthquakes recorded is at 100 and that number is going to increase as this earthquake swarm continues, number of earthquakes happening has dropped considerably for the last few hours. This is the first large earthquake swarm in Skjaldbreið since 1992 according to Icelandic Met Office records (it goes back to 1706 can be viewed here (Icelandic only), locations are not accurate until late 20th century). This earthquake activity appears to be only tectonic in nature and there are no signs of magma movements at the moment.
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Early morning on 9-December-2017 a magnitude 4,1 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This type of earthquake activity is now common in Bárðarbunga volcano after the 2014 (August) – 2015 (February) eruption. The magnitude 4,1 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano was the largest earthquake in this swarm, second largest earthquake had a magnitude of 2,8 and happened several hours before.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is marked by the green star. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake activity is located in the south part of the Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. Not far from cauldrons (at least two) that are now highly active in hydrothermal activity. If that is going to result in any glacier flood is not known at the moment, but the biggest chance is that the water levels are low at this locations at least for now. After the magnitude 4,1 the earthquake activity has stopped for now.
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Recent measurement of Öræfajökull volcano have confirmed a dyke intrusion, the dyke intrusion is located in south part of Öræfajökull volcano and that area is showing inflation. At the moment the amount of magma is now estimated at being close to the total of what erupted in 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano. At the moment the dyke is at depth of 2 – 6 km and that explains current hydrothermal activity in Öræfajökull volcano and why it is increasing. How long this is going to go on is not known at the moment. Öræfajökull volcano is a stratovolcano with everything that comes with it (information about this type of voclano can be found here and here).
The earthquake activity in Örfæajökull volcano for the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Last week total of 160 earthquakes where recorded in Öræfajökull volcano and that is a first time record for Öræfajökull volcano having this many earthquakes since recording of earthquakes started in Öræfajökull volcano (~1995?). Earthquake activity seems to be stable at the moment, when that changes is impossible to know at the moment.
There are now two web cameras. The websites are based on non-dynamic folder settings so this links are going to expire rather quickly.
Fagurhólsmýri web camera (only valid for now)
Web camera bridge (only valid for now)
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Latest news of the cauldron that has formed in Öræfajökull volcano is not good. According to the news on mbl.is the cauldron got larger by 20 meters over a 9 day time period. Current shape of the cauldron now is close to the one of water droplet (according to the news). The hydrothermal activity is expanding to the south at the moment.
Current earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano is constant, sometimes bad weather is preventing detection of earthquakes. There has been a small increase in magnitude of earthquakes being detected at the moment that change is not large as most earthquakes are below magnitude 1,0.
Icelandic News (in English)
Öræfajökull caldera has deepened considerably (mbl.is)
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During the night of 6-December-2017 there was a small earthquake swarm on western part of Tjörnes Fracture Zone (TFZ). Few earthquakes happened and the largest one had a magnitude of 3,1 and was felt in Siglufjörður village and Ólafsvík village.
The earthquake swarm area is where the green star is. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Second largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,8. All other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude. This area is a fault area and more earthquake activity can be expected.
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Earthquake activity continues in Öræfajökull volcano. There is a small drop in earthquake activity every few hours just before it increases again. This seems to be normal for earthquake like Öræfajökull volcano. The magma in Öræfajökull volcano is expected to be rhyolitic in nature. That explains the nature of the earthquakes swarms that are now taking place.
The earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano for the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Largest earthquake in last 48 hours had the magnitude of 1,7. At the moment larger earthquakes have not yet happened in last few weeks (since the magnitude 3,5 earthquake took place). The earthquakes at the outline and some distance from Öræfajökull volcano seems to be fault lines that move as Öræfajökull volcano continues to inflate. There is some risk of earthquakes at those locations, it is my view that risk is mostly minimal for now at least. I don’t know how the development has been for the cauldron in Öræfajökull volcano caldera since I haven’t seen any news about the development of that area.
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There seems to be a slow increase in earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano. For the last 48 hours the number seems to be rising. This is how it looks on this graph from Icelandic Met Office.
Earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano from 2005 – today. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This increase in earthquake activity suggest that more magma is pushing up the volcano at faster rate. The main idea now is that the magma that is pushing up Öræfajökull volcano is rhyolite in nature and that seems to be confirmed to an extent by the earthquake activity as it now appearing.
Last 48 hours of earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano. The volcano is located in south part of Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
How this develops is a big question due to lack of accurate historical accounts. What is known about the eruption in 1362 was written down up to two centuries later and when that happens lack of accuracy is passed into the written record. The written record for the eruption in 1727 – 1728 is slightly better but is far from being accurate.
Please remember to support my work with donations. I am a bit broke in December due the long term problem with my finances (November was awful!). I hope for improvements in the year 2018. It also costs to run this website. Thanks for the support. 🙂
I put a lot of work in this website as it shows when the number of articles (1320 so far) I’ve written since I started this website in September 2011. Donations allow me to keep writing on this website without being too much bothered with having to worry about financial problems too much (I’ve had enough of that for five live times already).
It is also clear that increase in volcano activity in Iceland means that I’ll be busier than ever writing articles about eruptions in Iceland and what that means. I do expect that the year 2018 is going to be something (possibly) and that wait might not be too long.
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For the past few days there has been a earthquake activity in Askja volcano. All of the earthquakes so far have been small in magnitude and only few have reached magnitude above 1,0. This earthquake activity is due to magma movements and its the first time I have seen it reported at this shallow depth (above 10 km depth).
Earthquake activity in Askja volcano. North of Vatnajökull glacier. There is also activity in Herðubreið to the east, but that’s an unrelated activity and is due to tectonic forces in the area. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
There are no clear signs that an eruption is about to happen in Askja volcano or in Dyngjufjöll as this area is also called. If an eruption starts in this area outside of any major water area its only going to erupt lava with minimal risk. Explosive eruption due to water is also a possibility but those are impossible to predict.
Today (21-November-2017) at 13:53 and 13:55 UTC two magnitude 3,9 earthquakes happened in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake activity was in the regular area in the north-east part of the Báðarbunga volcano caldera. It remains to be seen if there is any change in conductivity in Jökulsá á Fjöllum following this earthquake swarm.
Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano today (green stars, red dots). Öræfajökull volcano is quiet today (maybe due to extremely bad weather in this part of Iceland at the moment). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
The aftershocks form a interesting line that goes east to west in the caldera. I’ve not seen that form before and it’s interesting to see it. I don’t know yet if it means anything besides a possible fault in the volcano. It takes the glacier water 9 hours to reach the monitoring station at Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Grímsstaðir from the one at Upptyppingar. I don’t know how long it takes the water to reach Upptyppingar from the glacier, it is at least several hours.
Please note that with current high activity I’m getting a bit stressed out with the workload when a lot of things are happening in short period of time.
Current list of unrest volcanoes is this.
Bárðarbunga (continued in September 2015 after the August 2014 – February 2015 eruption)
Askja (deep magma activity, not a major concern at the moment)
Other volcanoes are not a concern until they erupt without warning.