Yesterday (13-November-2019) has been a little quieter in the earthquake swarm in Askja volcano. Largest earthquake in the last 24 hours had a magnitude of Mw3,1. Over the last 48 hours around 500 earthquakes have happened in Askja volcano. There was a peak in activity after the magntidue Mw3,1 earthquake but it slowed down soon after that. Depth of this earthquake swarm has changed slightly, deepest points are now at 7 to 8 km and that might be a problem since magma is possibly at 10 to 15 km depth in this location. If this is a magma that can erupt I don’t know, if there is magma at this location it might also be a magma that’s too cold to erupt.
The earthquake activity in Askja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
The earthquakes continue to be rift-zone earthquakes along fault lines and there is as of the writing of this article no signs of magma movement in Askja volcano as a result of this earthquake swarm. This earthquake swarm has been going on for a week from today (14-November-2019). It is a question if this earthquake swarm is over or if this is just a quiet time in this earthquake swarm activity. It is known in Askja volcano eruption history that eruption in Askja volcano and nearby fissure swarms start with long period of earthquake activity that continues to grow over time. This can be read in this studies of earlier eruptions, study 1961 eruption, study 1875 eruption. Current situation continues to keep monitoring what is going on.
Science article on earthquake activity in Askja (added link)
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This is a short update on the earthquake activity in Askja volcano.
Earthquake activity has now moved to a new phase in Askja volcano. This appears to be a rifting event taking place in Askja volcano. They do often result in a fissure eruption of lava and sometimes short lived volcano ash event. That might not happen and as of writing of this article no magma movement has been seen on nearby SIL stations. That might change without warning at any time.
Earthquake activity in Askja volcano as of 23:25 UTC on 12-November-2019. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Density of the earthquake swarm has increased from earlier as is clear here. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
It is not possible to know what happens next in this earthquake activity in Askja volcano. The only thing that can be done is to wait and see what happens.
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The earthquake activity in Askja volcano continues with no clear signs that it is about to stop. Since midnight around 200 earthquakes have happened at the writing of this article. Icelandic Met Office is currently holding a meeting about this earthquake swarm in Askja volcano.
The earthquake swarm in Askja volcano as of 12-November-2019 at 11:55 UTC. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
There seems to be a pulse activity in this earthquake swarm. Activity drops for several hours before increasing again and then slows down again. That is possible clue that this earthquake swarm has its origins in magma activity that has not yet reached shallow levels of the crust. There is no deep earthquake activity in this swarm and that might not happen. What exactly is going on in Askja volcano remains unclear at the writing for this article.
There are now two possibles of what might happen next
- Earthquake activity continues until an eruption happens. This would be a lava eruption with no or limited amount of volcano ash happening in the process.
- This earthquake swarm continues until it just stops and no eruption happens.
What happens is impossible to know for sure since this earthquake activity is a mystery as of the writing of this article.
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Since I wrote the article yesterday (09-November-2019) on the earthquake swarm in Askja volcano there has been increase in the earthquake activity. One magnitude Mw3,4 earthquake has happened and one magnitude Mw3,2 earthquake also happened. The active earthquake area seems to have expanded a little to both north and south. This earthquake swarm continues to appear to be only tectonic in nature and there are no signs of magma movement in the shallow levels of the crust on nearby SIL stations. It is not possible to know for sure what is happening in deeper levels of the crust.
The earthquake activity in Askja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
There is a chance this earthquake swarm is going to increase before this activity slows down. What happens next depends on the built up stress levels in the crust in Askja volcano. In the last 48 hours over 300 earthquakes have taken place in Askja volcano.
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Since earlier this week (Week 45) there has been a ongoing earthquake swarm in Askja volcano. Largest earthquake in this swarm so far had a magnitude Mw2,8 while other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude. This earthquake activity is happening on a fault that is North – South directions. The earthquake activity is happening just inside or just outside (this is unclear) in the main Askja volcano. This might be dyke injection into Askja volcano at this location but that remains unclear since there are no clear signs of what is happening. This might just be a tectonic activity in Askja volcano as often happens in rift zones.
Askja volcano earthquake swarm. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
What makes this earthquake swarm something to monitor is how long it has been going on. Its been going on at least five days and maybe even six days at the writing of this article. In most cases this type of earthquake swarm activity stops without anything more happening in Askja volcano. I suspect that is also going to be the case with this earthquake swarm.
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On Saturday (26-October-2019) a earthquake with a magnitude of 3,5 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This was a single earthquake and no more earthquake activity happened following this activity.
On Sunday (27-October-2019) a earthquake swarm started in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is a deep earthquake swarm with a depth from 20,2 km and up to 10,9 km on Sunday. All of the earthquakes in this swarm had a magnitude lower than Mw2,0.
Today (Monday 28-October-2019) the deep earthquake swarm continued in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake swarm was larger in number of earthquakes happening. Depth was from 26 km to 15,5 km. This deep earthquake activity is connected to magma injection from deep magma reservoir that is below Bárðarbunga or a different one nearby. There is no way to know for sure what magma reservoir is feeding this earthquake activity. Often this deep earthquake activity is followed by a more intense earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano it self. What the connection between those two events is remains a mystery. It is impossible to know if this increased earthquake activity means anything for now. Last times this has happened it has not resulted in anything other than earthquake activity over time period of several weeks.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake activity is now a common feature of Bárðarbunga volcano. This does not mean that an eruption is going to happen soon or is imminent since magma on the move to start an eruption is going to result in a far larger earthquake swarm than have been happening now.
Today (13-October-2019) a minor earthquake swarm took place in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. After the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano there has been a ongoing earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano, why that it is remains unexplained. There are suggestion in recorded data that magma is moving inside the volcano at slow rate but that remains unclear for now.
The earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano (red dots north of Bárðarbunga volcano). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Tungnafellsjökull volcano has no known eruption history in last 12000 years so its impossible to know what signs if any appears before an eruption happens. Currently there are no clear signs that Tungnafellsjökull volcano is preparing for an eruption. This might just be after-effect of the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano that placed a lot of crustal strain on Tungafellsjökull volcano and resulted in a lot of earthquake activity in that volcano during the early start of that eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano.
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According to latest news from Rúv on recent survey on Bárðarbunga volcano the cauldrons that appeared during the Holuhraun eruption (2014 – 2015) continue to grow in size and there has been increase in hydrothermal output in those cauldrons. Distance between the cauldrons is 800 meters and their depth is more than 100 meters. In one of the cauldrons a hot spring has been observed and strong sulphur comes from it. The water in the cauldrons no longer freezes due to heat. Rock has also been exposed that have never been seen before and have been under the glacier for thousands of years.
Video of the cauldrons can be seen here on Rúv News report. Everything is in Icelandic.
Sigkatlarnir í Bárðarbungu stækkað nokkuð (Rúv.is)
Today (24-June-2019) at 13:09 UTC, 13:18 UTC and 13:55 UTC three strong earthquakes took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. The earthquake at 13:09 UTC has registered magnitude of mb4,5 at EMSC (information here). The earthquake at 13:55 UTC also has the magnitude of mb4,5 at EMSC (information here). Icelandic Met Office has the earthquake at 13:09 UTC at magnitude Mw3,3 and the earthquake at 13:55 UTC at magnitude Mw4,1. The earthquake at 13:18 UTC has a magnitude of Mw3,4. Smaller earthquakes have followed the largest earthquakes.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake activity is because of inflation in Bárðarbunga volcano. Since Bárðarbunga volcano continues to be in a inflation stage this earthquake activity did not result in a movement of magma or an eruption. Two of the earthquakes were in the regular location (central caldera and north-east part of the caldera) and the earthquake at 13:09 UTC took place outside the caldera and in north-west part of the volcano. This is slightly unusual based on earlier earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Last strong earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano was on 19-June-2019 and this a short time between strong earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano. This doesn’t seems to be unusual activity.
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Yesterday (19-June-2019) an earthquake swarm took place south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. This area of Bárðarbunga volcano has been active since end of the eruption in February 2015 and possibly earlier than that. Last eruption in this area took place in with a start in February 1726 (+- 30 days) and ended in May 1726 (+- 30 days). More eruptions might have taken place at this location without being known or detected by people in the past.
The earthquake swarm south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
The depth of this earthquake swarm is considerable. Deepest earthquake recorded had a depth of 30,4 km and it is a possible that might be an error or poor location, other earthquakes recorded had a shallower depth. The crust in this location is up to 45 km thick according to measurements. It is not possible to know if this earthquake activity is going to result in a eruption. If an eruption happens it might happen without any warning and not of lot of earthquake activity before it happens.
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