Today (31-January-2020) an earthquake swarm started again north of Grindavík village in the volcano of Reykjanes (both). Largest earthquake so far had the magnitude of Mw2,5. Other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude but that might change without warning. Inflation today is close to 45mm and continues to increase by each day. The source of this information can be found here.
The latest earthquake swarm in the volcano Reykjanes. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
The fault lines that are now active are three based on current earthquake pattern. This fault lines might just make an earthquakes and might not erupt. At the writing of this article there is no sign that magma has started to move towards the surface. Stronger earthquake swarms can happen without warning and they don’t have to be close to the area that is now inflating. Since the inflation is changing the stress levels in nearby crust that is going to break once the crust stress level has been reached. When that happens is not something that is possible to know.
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Today (29-January-2020) at 04:31 UTC a earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,5 took place north of Grindavík town. A second earthquake took place at 04:59 UTC and that earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,2. There has been a lot of minor earthquake activity during the night both before and after the largest earthquakes took place. Latest news on the inflation is that yesterday (28-January-2020) a pause took place in the inflation. Why that happened is unclear but there are no signs of this activity slowing down.
The earthquake activity in the Grindavík town area and close to Þorbjörn mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
There are no signs that magma has started to push it self into a dyke or towards the surface. There has not been any change on the nearby SIL tremor plots that Icelandic Met Office has. Area of activity can be considered large and is now whole of Grindavík town and but what is important is that the activity is aligned in south-east and north-west as is the direction of faults and older eruption fissures in this area.
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Today (27-January-2020) at 18:53 UTC an earthquake with the magnitude of Mw3,1 took place just north of the town of Grindavík. This earthquake activity is in a volcano inside the volcano system of Reykjanes in its fissure swarm.
The earthquake activity north of Grindavík town and north of Þorbjörn mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
More earthquake activity can be expected in this area for next few days to months. Current inflation is around 4mm/day and shows no signs of slowing down according the news and GPS measurements.
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The current inflation that is now happening on the Reykjanes peninsula below the tuff mountain called Þorbjörn is in a volcano system called Reykjanes in the Global Volcanism Program. Last eruption is registered having taken place in Mars 1831 at Eldeyjarboði but given the location and distance on the Reykjanes ridge that area possibly is part of a different volcano system and is not connected to the Reykjanes volcano system that now has become active. Part of this volcano is below sea level. Maps of this area can be found here and here (image). Last eruption in this system was maybe in the year 1583. There is a possibility that the eruption in the year 1583 belongs to a different volcano system that is completely under the ocean. Last confirmed eruption in this system was in the year 1240 (780 years). More information on the volcano can also be found here.
The volcano that is now active doesn’t have any special name so for clarity I am just going to call it Þorbjörn. This volcano is rather large and erupts in the form of fissure vents. Þorbjörn is inside a fissure zone of the volcano called Reykjanes and that volcano might be the main volcano in this system and it can happen that both volcanoes can erupt at the same time. I don’t know if that is going to happen this time around but there has been a earthquake activity in the main volcano called Reykjanes and part of it is below ocean and eruption that would result in ash cloud with limited distribution. This earthquake activity suggests that both volcanoes are now getting active. The volcano called Reykjanes is less dangerous because its out in the ocean and not close to any populated area. Þorbjörn is close to populated area and important infrastructure on the Reykjanes peninsula.
I have written about this area earthquake activity in last few weeks here (28-July-2017), here (15-December-2019), here (17-December-2019), here (19-December-2019), here (20-December-2019), here (22-January-2020). I do think this is all of the earthquake activity in this area since July 2017 until January 2020.
Current activity in Þorbjörn and nearby area. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
I am going to continue to monitor this situation and continue to update as best I can. Since I am currently moving back to Iceland delays may happen in the days when I move (middle of February) back to Iceland.
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Icelandic Met Office has declared uncertainty level because of inflation in the mountain called Þorbjörn (no Global Volcanism Profile) that started on 21st of January 2020. This inflation has been followed by earthquake swarm activity that is ongoing at the writing of this article. The inflation has been 2cm today (26-January-2020) and the estimated volume of magma is 0,001 km3 and that is possibly too small to erupt at the moment. The inflation is 3mm to 4mm a day at the writing of this article. This active area is just north of the village of Grindavík.
The active area (red dots). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
I’ll update this as best I can but I am currently in the progress of moving back to Iceland. But I don’t expect anything major to happen just yet. At least I hope that is what is going to happen. I plan on having my geophone network back by early March when I can fix the rollover problem the GPS clocks I am using are having.
Icelandic Met Office article in Icelandic
Möguleg kvikusöfnun undir svæðinu við fjallið Þorbjörn á Reykjanesi (vedur.is, Images)
English article by Icelandic Met Office
Possible magma accumulation beneath Mt. Thorbjorn on Reykjanes peninsula
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Today (26-January-2020) at 14:25 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,7 in Bárðarbunga volcano. This was a single earthquake but that does not rule out a second earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano is going to happen in next few hours. That might not happen since a second earthquake doesn’t always appear.
Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano today (26-January-2020). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake shows that Bárðarbunga volcano continues to inflate at fast speed. When next eruption is going to happen is impossible to know but shortest time between eruptions in Bárðarbunga volcano is just 3 to 8 years.
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Today (24-January-2020) at 05:04 UTC an earthquake took place on the Reykjanes ridge. This earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,3. This earthquake is as far away as the SIL network can detected earthquake activity in any good way and that might explain why there has not been any record of other earthquakes in this area.
The green star on the far left is the Mw3,3 earthquake. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
There has been a lot of earthquake activity on the Reykjanes ridge in January 2020. I don’t know if that trend is going to continue or not.
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Today (22-January-2020) an earthquake swarm started east of Grindavík village on the Reykjanes peninsula. Largest earthquakes in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw3,7 and the second largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,6. The third largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,2. All earthquakes were felt but the largest earthquakes were felt of a wide area.
Earthquake activity east of Grindavík village on the Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
This earthquake swarm appears to be over at the time of writing but it might continue without a warning in this area or nearby area.
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Removal of advertisements
I have removed all the advertisements here. I do this because the income from them was and always has been almost nothing and I no longer want to bother with them. It is going to take few dasy to remove the advertisements from all my websites.
Today (18-January-2020) at 12:38 UTC an earthquake swarm took place on the Reykjanes ridge close to Eldeyjarboða island. Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw4,0 according to Icelandic Met Office. Both USGS and EMSC are reporting this earthquake as a mb4,5 in automatic detection. Second largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,8.
Earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge not far from Eldeyjarboða island. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude. This earthquake swarm appears to be over but it is possible that this is just a limited stop in earthquake activity before it starts again. That is a common feature of earthquake swarms in this area. Earthquake can reach magnitude of Mw5,5 in this area of Reykjanes ridge.
Update on 19-January-2020
Icelandic Met Office updated the earthquake magnitudes yesterday and it now shows two Mw4,5 earthquakes taken place at 14:07 UTC and 14:17 UTC and one Mw4,0 earthquake having taken place at 15:52 UTC.
Updated earthquake map of the earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge on 18-January-2020. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
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Today (10-Januar-2020) at 13:10 UTC a earthquake with the magnitude of Mw3,9 took place just 4,9 km outside of Hveragerði town in south Iceland. This earthquake was felt over a wide area. Several small aftershocks have taken place following the first earthquake.
The earthquake activity in SISZ just 4,9 east of Hveragerði town. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
It is unclear if this earthquake is a foreshock or just normal earthquake for this area. Its been 12 years since two Mw6,3 earthquakes (May 2008) took place in SISZ and the shortest time between earthquakes of this size on SISZ is around 10 to 13 years.
Currently my geophones are offline due to technical issues that I am going to fix in March after I have moved back to Iceland.
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