A minor earthquake swarm took place in Bárðarbunga volcano today (21-august-2019). Largest earthquake had a magnitude of 3,5 and other earthquakes that happened are smaller in magnitude.
The earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano (green star). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake was in the north-east part of the caldera. In last few months earthquake activity has been increasing in that part of the caldera. Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is due to magma inflating the volcano.
Over the last few days there has been increase in earthquake activity in Hamarinn volcano (Bárðarbunga volcano). In Global Volcanism Program record this area is known as Loki-Fögrufjöll. Largest earthquakes today (12-August-2019) had a magnitude of 2,8 and 2,5 and other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude.
The earthquake activity in Hamarinn volcano (red/blue dots at the edge of the glacier). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Last time Hamarinn volcano had this type of earthquake activity it erupted for few months after it had started. That was on 12th July 2011. I wrote about those events here and here (glacier flood that followed, July 13th 2011). There were minor additional eruptions in August and November in 2011 according to the tremor data, those eruptions only lasted for ~4 hours at most. Since then this area has mostly been quiet and did drop down in activity after the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano in 2014 to 2015.
It is unclear what is going on in Hamarinn volcano, for now there is no eruption taking place and any eruption is going to appear clearly on harmonic tremor data on the SIL network. It seems that eruptions in Hamarinn volcano start without any earthquake activity, I don’t know why that is. Last major eruption in Hamarinn volcano took place in the year 1910 from June 18 to October.
Today (20-Juli-2019) at 14:15 UTC an earthquake with the magnitude of 3,3 took place in Torfajökull volcano. This earthquake took place in south part of the caldera of Torfajökull volcano. This earthquake might have been felt by tourists in the area.
The earthquake activity in Torfajökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
There has not been a lot of aftershocks following this earthquake for now. Last earthquake with magnitude above 3,0 took place on 12th of July and this means there might be a serious increase in earthquake activity in Torfajökull volcano. There are no obvious signs that Torfajökull volcano is about to erupt but it is also not known what is needed to make an eruption happen in Torfajökull volcano. Best action for now is to continue to monitor the activity in Torfajökull volcano.
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Since yesterday (13-July-2019) there has been a increase in earthquake activity in Katla volcano. There are no signs of anything more happening than just this increase of earthquakes.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This increase in activity is something to keep a watch for but this has happened before without resulting in a eruption in Katla volcano. There have been reports on high volume of water level in the cauldrons in Mýrdalsjökull glacier. I don’t know if that is connected to this increase in earthquake activity. There is an expatiation that water is going to break out soon and the flood is going to be the largest since 2011. That might increase earthquake activity in Katla volcano once that happens. For now however nothing has been reported in the news of such a event.
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Today (12-July-2019) at 17:16 UTC a magnitude 3,2 earthquake took place in Torfajökull volcano. This earthquake might have been felt by tourists in the area. This earthquake being felt has not yet been reported according to any news media.
The earthquake activity in Torfajökull volcano (green star). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This area of Torfajökull volcano has been having earthquake activity since January 27 when a magnitude 3,7 earthquake took place there. That activity was followed by a larger swarm of aftershocks than have so far happened. That might change without warning. This earthquake activity is interesting but I am not sure if it means anything, at least for now.
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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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After a long period of quiet an earthquake has happened in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake had a magnitude of 3,4 and was in the usual place of central caldera of Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake had a smaller earthquake swarm activity happen few hours before it happened.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is marked by the green star. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
It is not possible to know if this means there is going to be any more earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Normally since everything started to quiet down, just one earthquake happens that is over magnitude 3,0 and then everything goes quiet again for several weeks to months. I do suspect that is going to be the pattern this time.
Due to how tired I am since I am working full workday (08:00 – 16:00) now my English grammar is all over the place in this article.
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Sometimes nature does something unexpected. This applies now to Torfajökull volcano. It seems that this earthquake activity started on 27-January-2019 without any warning. The article about that earthquake swarm can be found here.
The earthquake activity on 29-April-2019. A clear line of earthquake has appeared. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Second earthquake swarm on 3-May-2019. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
The earthquake swarm on 4-June-2019. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
After Bárðarbunga volcano eruption in 2014 I set-up a new system (that I use for my self. No-one uses something something similar that I know of) to detect possible eruptions. Each volcano is different and there is also a risk of false detection. However I do think that based on latest activity that something is going on in Torfajökull volcano. If this results in a eruption is too early to say at the time of writing of this article. If this is on a path to an eruption there might not be any warning or much of a warning besides few magnitude 3,0 to 4,5 earthquakes in Torfajökull volcano. Last eruption in Torfajökull volcano was in 1477 (north of the caldera) so its behaviour before an eruption is unknown. Last time a eruption took place in west side of the caldera was in the year 1170 or around that year.
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