Update on Bárðarbunga volcano cauldrons

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)

Three strong earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano

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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Deep earthquake swarm south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano

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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Small earthquake swarm in Öræfajökull volcano Monday 23-July-2018

On Monday 23-July-2018 there was an small earthquake swarm in Öræfajökull volcano. This type of earthquake swarm is a common activity at the moment. Around 100 to 200 earthquakes now happen in Öræfajökull volcano each week. Almost all of them are small and less than 1,0 in magnitude.


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

Largest earthquake so far this week had a magnitude of 1,2 and it had a depth of 4,9 km. Other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude. When a earthquake swarm happens in Öræfajökull volcano it is because magma is pressuring it self upwards inside the volcano. Earthquakes far outside Öræfajökull volcano are because of stress changes in the crust and that re-activates fault lines in the area. This might increase as more magma collects into Öræfajökull volcano along with stronger magnitude. That process might take weeks or months from what it is today.

Deep earthquake swarm south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano

Since yesterday (18-July-2018) there has been a deep earthquake swarm south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake swarm in this location are common and due to their depth are always the result of magma injection into the crust in this area.


Earthquake activity south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Most depth recorded in this earthquake swarm was 26,3 km and the shallowest was at 13,4 km depth. Error margin might be high in this location due to distance from SIL stations. Smaller earthquakes (magnitude 0,0 – 1,0) are harder to locate and give correct depth. Activity at this location is sometimes followed by a large earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano (main). That doesn’t always happen. It is not possible to know if that is going to happen now.

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano and south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (07-March-2018) there has been deep earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake activity was in two areas. In the main volcano and south-east of it.


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

The earthquake swarm in the main volcano is normal and is connected to current inflation activity of Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity happens mostly when magma is pushing the crust upwards when it flows into the volcano from depth. The earthquake swarm to the south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano is more interesting. That is a dyke and it has been in this area for numbers of years already. At the moment this dyke remains at depth of 15 – 23 km but this increase in activity might be increasing the risk of eruption if it does not quiet down. The increased magma activity in Bárðarbunga volcano has increased the earthquake activity in this dyke over the last few months.

There is a high risk of strong earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano in the next few days to weeks.

What also happened in this earthquake swarm was a high intensity tremor on the mid-band (1-2Hz) during the earthquake swarm. This is highly unusual. What it means is less clear.


The tremor activity (close to the end) on a SIL station close to Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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Ongoing earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano, fresh earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano

At the moment the earthquake activity that started in Öræfajökull volcano on 25-February-2018 is currently ongoing. Most of the earthquakes happening are small, most are smaller than magnitude 1,0.


Earthquake activity in Öræfajökull and Tungnafellsjökull volcanoes. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Tungnafellsjökull volcano

Directly north-west of Öræfajökull volcano is a another volcano making earthquakes. That volcano is named Tungnafellsjökull volcano. Most of its earthquake activity is also small earthquakes with magnitude smaller than 1,0. After the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano 2014 – 2015 earthquake activity increased in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. Earthquake activity was also high during the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano due to stress changes in the crust. It is likely that current earthquake activity is due to adjustment of tectonic stresses.

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Dyke intrusion south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano

On Sunday (21-January-2018) a dyke intrusion took place south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. The area is question is slightly outside of Bárðarbunga volcano fissure swarm but seems to be connected to the main volcano.


The earthquakes south-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake only had magnitude 1,2 and the shallowest depth was only 13,9 km with a magnitude 0,8 earthquake. The risk of an eruption in this area is increasing, but it is not possible to know when a eruption might happen. This area has been active for some time now with regular dyke intrusions at the same location.

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Magnitude 3,1 earthquake in Öræfajökull volcano

A magnitude 3,1 earthquake took place on 18-January-2018 at 02:14 UTC in Öræfajökull volcano. This earthquake was followed by one magnitude 2,0 earthquake and one magnitude 1,8 earthquake. All other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.


Earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano (green star). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity was followed by an increase in higher frequency noise on the tremor plots around Öræfajökull volcano. This possibly was the swarm of small earthquakes detected in Öræfajökull volcano at the same time. I am not sure at this moment, but I do hope it gets clearer what is happening as more data is collected with increasing activity.


The change in the tremor plot at Fagurhólsmýri SIL station. The change is at the blue line close the end (spikes). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

At the moment everything is quiet in Öræfajökull volcano.

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Dyke intrusion in Öræfajökull volcano confirmed

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.

Web cameras

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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