Update on the earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge

The earthquake swarm that started today (16-November-2019) on the Reykjanes ridge in the volcano called Reykjanes [Eldey] continues. At the writing of this article 29 earthquakes larger than magnitude Mw3,0 have happened at this location on the Reykjanes ridge. Largest earthquake so far had a magnitude of Mw4,5. The earthquake swarm slowed down after 17:00 and has remained in slow activity since then but it is ongoing as of writing of this article.


The earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Density of the earthquake swarm. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquakes in this area have reached magnitude Mw5,0 and last time that happened was in June and July-2015. I wrote about all those earthquakes swarms.

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Strong earthquake swarm in Reykjanes volcano

I don’t have a lot of information about what is going on. The area that has having earthquake swarm is located at Geirfugladrangi good 20 to 40 km off the coastline. This earthquake swarm is strong and might even get stronger. I don’t know yet if this earthquake swarm is due to tectonic forces or because magma has started pushing to upper levels in the crust. There are no clear signs of eruption happening at this location at the writing of this article. The volcano in this area is called Reykjanes.


Earthquake swarm on Reykjanes ridge in a volcano called Reykjanes. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This activity appears to be moving quickly and there’s a lot going on and information in this article is going to get outdated quickly.

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Update four on earthquake activity in Askja volcano

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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Update three on earthquake activity in Askja volcano

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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Update two on the Askja volcano earthquake swarm

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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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Update on Askja volcano earthquake swarm

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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Ongoing earthquake swarm in Askja volcano

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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Strong earthquake and deep earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano

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.

Magnitude Mw3,1 earthquake in Hamarinn volcano

Today (13-October-2019) at 17:44 UTC a magnitude Mw3,1 earthquake took place in Hamarinn volcano (no Global Volcanism Page, see Bárðarbunga volcano). There has been some earthquake activity in this area for last several weeks.


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

Last time there was this increase in earthquake activity in Hamarinn volcano an eruption happened in July 2011 without warning and no earthquake activity before it. That eruption remains unconfirmed by the professionals but I hold that we it did happened based on documented data (harmonic tremor, glacier flood).

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Minor earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano

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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Currently there is only need for about 37.259 ISK (263€/$292USD) until I have all the money needed for paying for moving of my belongings and to get them delivered to me on time without having to pay a lot of storage charges (if any). Unfortunately I have to use tiny amount of this money to pay for transport and little food costs in Iceland and Denmark. I am going to keep that amount to absolute minimal amount. Thanks for the support. 🙂