Glacier flood confirmed from Vatnajökull glacier, flood is from Hamarinn volcano (Loki-Fögrufjöll area)

The harmonic tremor that started yesterday has been confirmed to be coming from Hamarinn volcano (Bárðarbunga volcano), but they are also known as Loki-Fögrufjöll in GVP database.

So far there is nothing that indicates an eruption is taking place at the moment in Hamarinn volcano. But that might change without warning. At the moment nobody is sure where the glacier flood is coming from. But this appears to be a new area of hydrothermal activity in Hamarinn volcano that is releasing water at the moment. This new hydrothermal area is most likely created by new dike intrusions into the bed rock in the affected area. There are no pictures of the affected area, as the area is impassible to air plains at the moment due to cloud cover or fog. Lack of earthquakes also makes it hard to locate the source of this glacier flood.

Currently the glacier flood has peaked and is getting lower. There not expected to be any damage from this glacier flood on human structures or roads. This area of Iceland is unpopulated. The water is going into large lakes in the area where the effects of this glacier flood are almost none. The glacier flood did flow into a dam lake that is collecting water from rivers that this glacier flood did go into. This did make the lake rise about 70 cm in several hours and fill it. No damage is expected from this glacier flood to the dam or other structures in this area connected to the dam. But it is estimated that 26 gigaliters did flow into the dam lake during the night from this glacier flood.


Harmonic tremor at 12:59 UTC, this is Skrokkalda SIL station. At this time it had been dropping down. But starting to rise again after that when this is written. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


This is the harmonic tremor at 12:59 UTC on Grímsfjall SIL station. It is bit hard to see it due high background noise on this SIL station. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

So far this is just a glacier flood and nothing else. But that might change if an eruption starts in this area. But that is no way certain that it is going to happen now. We just have to wait and see what happens in Hamarinn volcano.

Icelandic News about this.

Hágöngulón fylltist í hlaupinu (mbl.is, Icelandic)
Hlaup undan Köldukvíslarjökli (mbl.is, Icelandic)
Jökulhlaup undan Vatnajökli (Vísir.is, Icelandic)
Hlaupið í rénun (Vísir.is, Icelandic)
Órói við Vatnajökul (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Flóð undan Vatnajökli (Rúv.is, Icelandic)

73 Replies to “Glacier flood confirmed from Vatnajökull glacier, flood is from Hamarinn volcano (Loki-Fögrufjöll area)”

  1. Thanks for the update Jon.

    I had noticed that the tremor has stopped dropping before it got back to normal levels and now as you say it seems to be rising slightly again.

  2. Wednesday
    13.07.2011 14:04:59 64.592 -17.199 5.4 km 1.5 31.29 16.6 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday
    13.07.2011 14:03:00 64.558 -17.087 0.5 km 1.5 30.42 19.2 km NNE of Grímsfjall

      1. Wednesday
        13.07.2011 14:04:59 64.588 -17.171 18.6 km 1.3 99.0 18.0 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
        Wednesday
        13.07.2011 14:03:00 64.606 -17.189 0.8 km 0.5 99.0 16.6 km ESE of Bárðarbunga

  3. how come that the quake near Surtsey didn´t show up as a spike on the Vestmannaeyjar SIL graph?

  4. Those quakes have been updated to 99 quality now.

    Wednesday
    13.07.2011 14:04:59 64.588 -17.171 18.6 km 1.3 99.0 18.0 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Wednesday
    13.07.2011 14:03:00 64.606 -17.189 0.8 km 0.5 99.0 16.6 km ESE of Bárðarbunga

  5. Magnitude ML 3.3
    Region ICELAND
    Date time 2011-07-13 16:04:40.5 UTC
    Location 63.65 N ; 19.08 W
    Depth 1 km
    Distances 149 km E Reykjavík (pop 113,906 ; local time 16:04:40.5 2011-07-13)
    148 km E Hafnarfjörður (pop 22,289 ; local time 16:04:40.5 2011-07-13)
    63 km E Vestmannæyjar (pop 4,203 ; local time 16:04:40.5 2011-07-13)

    1. Saw this on Jon’s geophone, IMO has 3.1 but 90% quality so maybe that will change to 3.3

    1. Could get interesting, the tremors have been trending up for the past few hours too.

  6. Jeeze, I hardly had the time to reboot my computer and look what you have got for me!
    Mamma mia!

      1. Luis:
        Tremors are not rising like expected for an eruption to happen, but it could start if the activity continues.

    1. Yes, what I meant is that it was felt across the whole Katla network and thus it was not an error.

  7. Winds are high at Jón’s helicorder, so, it is difficult to tell if it is detecting harmonic tremors.

  8. Slowly a lot of factors gathering. Starts to be hard to call it random. It’s not that usual to have so widespread seismicity clearly related to volcanism at once. I’m really curious to see what is to come, and keep hoping Iceland’s people will not have to suffer.

    1. Yes. First we had Hekla inflating, than we gor a failed eruption under Myrdál, then three jökullhlaups in two different glaciers, supposedly an eruption of Bardarbunga system, then again these earthquakes in Vestmaneyjar and Katla, Myrdálsjökull full of cracks. It can’t be possibly “normal” activity.

  9. the low frequency spice was quite high.

    http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/Katla/oroi_mid.html

    i think we have to wait a few hours to see if the low frequency band goes higher. if it goes, then maybe we could get another jökullaup/ice cauldron.
    i think for a real eruption, it takes a bigger and more quakes than a 3.1.

    for the 1918 eruption: it was reported that there were several quite strong earthquakes before the onset of the eruption. so i think that it might need a M 4.0-5.0 quakes as an indicator for the onset of an eruption.

    here is a good summary for the dangers and possible paths for jökulllaups near katla, also it includes some geological and historical information about the kind of eruptions from katla.
    http://notendur.hi.is/~heidi/Data/Article-richard/Eliassonetal06.pdf

    1. Stefan, you are right. We have to wait, but given the circumstances it is going to be a nervous “waiting”.

  10. Now the earthquake in Habunga has been downgraded to 2.6
    Wednesday
    13.07.2011 16:04:40 63.649 -19.086 0.1 km 2.6 99.0 7.7 km N of

      1. I think that the 0.1 Km depth is relative to sea level, not ground level and therefore it’s not something that occurred in the glacier as ice doesn’t go that deep – unless the icelandic met office uses a “generic” 0.1 Km height for very shallow earthquakes (or “icequakes”).

        Some agencies use sometimes negative depths for earthquakes, which doesn’t mean they occurred in the air, just at extremely shallow depths in the ground above sea level (or any other relative, arbitrarily chosen, height).

      1. renato, try to click a little bit below and to the right of the squares, that works for me for every one of them….

      2. Thanks Chris… Ask the universe and someone will come up with a hint! You may know perhaps how difficult it is to get “all” the station statistics, names, and geographical locations apparent on the vedur.is/ site, (perhaps only the english version!). Glad to have the link… I’ve been attempting to work a time vs location vs depth etc… etc… log on the current activity (throughout all of the icelandic landmass) although i’m thwarted by SIL station locations and names. Thanks again for your input.

  11. I think that is just due to weather or some other natural noise. I think harmonic tremors are more sudden rises and not gradual?

      1. Sometimes earthquakes just are shallow. For no reason at all. But for this earthquake, I would say it was because of how shallow the magma actually is in the ground at this location.

        But it has not yet started to erupt.

    1. Jón, The earthquake in Westmaneyjar was clearly shown on your geophone. A bigger one than Habunga’s. Any idea as fot he size of that one?

      1. This was a long period event based on what I did record on my geophone. It seems magma did create this earthquake.

        The earthquake at Surtey was only tectonic and sharper because of that.

  12. The 3.1 earthquake in Katla comes in the news http://www.visir.ir

    Incredible how filled with volcanic updates have the news been during recent days: the warning of an eruption of Hekla, then the flooding in Myrdalsjokull, then today flooding from Vatnajokull and major earthquake in Katla.

    1. Google translation says that IMO say “there is no evidence that an eruption is about to begin”.

  13. Jon, you have lots of things to write about. You can write also about this 2.6-3.3 earthquake in Katla. And you could write one of these days about the massive fissure eruptions that happen every few centuries in Iceland, like the ones from Veidivotn, Eldgjá or Laki. And why we have never seen earthquakes so far on these places.

    1. Yes, this blog will get overwhelmed with activity in the weeks to come and Jon will start to get circles under his eyes.

      Jon, pace yourself and get good sleep…you’ll need it.

      1. Indeed, give out your phone number on the blog and let the world wake you up when something happens. 😀

        Off on a plane on Friday, going to a place without a internet connection and things get busy!!!

  14. I think some more larger quakes and a few more harmonic tremors before I get out my popcorn and overnight watching gear. However I wouldn’t like to make any bets on the next development except that it will probably be somewhere to the east of the main rift zone!!

    1. I agree with you Diana, Only thing that will happen 100% that i can say, is more EQ’S somewhere in Iceland. Looking at the weather, its heavy rain for the Katla area.

      Could this rain crack the ice more and allow more water hit hot under ice areas and the cause a chain reaction

      1. It’s too far from the coast and there are few busy roads in this area. Could be wind or a river.

      2. It is something wich happens at regular intervals. Is there a hydroelectric site of Dam near?

  15. There might have been three earthquakes around 17:55, and 18:05 somewhere near Jón’s helicorders that do not show in IMO records. But this is a non-expert take.

      1. Jón, thanks for pointing that out.
        So, you don’t consider the data from the first chart, Hvammstangi?

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