A explosions heard from Eyjafjallajökull volcano

This time around, it appears my break is going to a shorter then I planned. According to the newspaper named DV (a short of tabloid in Iceland) there have been a lot of explosion heard from Eyjafjallajökull volcano. According to the news this started around 19:00 UTC, when exactly is unclear at present time.

This was reported by a local farmer in the area, how describe this as the same noise before it started to erupt there Eyjafjallajökull volcano started to erupt in April 2010. But according to Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland nothing special has appears on seismometers around Eyjafjallajökull volcano. But it is good to know that in the first eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano on Fimmvörðuháls it took few hours for the harmonic tremor to appear following that eruption. For now all that can be done is to wait and see what happens next. This might be a start of a new eruption, or this simply might be nothing for the moment.

Update 1: This has been confirmed by more news media in Iceland. This also appears to have been going on all day. But the explosions today might have been at lower noise level during the day then happened tonight (this is unclear at the moment however). But also according to the news this explosions have been heard to Hvolsvöllur in the right wind direction (or a good weather?). This explosive booms have also been heard by other people in the area around Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

The news on this activity. Use Google Translate at own risk.

Drunur í Eyjafjallajökli: „Eins drunur og þegar byrjaði að gjósa síðast“ (DV.is)
Drynur enn í Eyjafjallajökli (mbl.is)

Text updated at 21:40 UTC on 2. January 2011.
Text updated at 23:45 UTC on 2. January 2011.
Text updated at 01:29 UTC on 3. January 2011.

72 Replies to “A explosions heard from Eyjafjallajökull volcano”

  1. {snicker – Google translate}

    “…nothing has come of meters of seismicity and the lounge has not received notice of the tremor…”

    Around here, a “Lounge” is one term for “Bar” or “Nightclub.” Generally most people in there wouldn’t notice anyway.

    1. LOL. I would hestitate to lounge and indulge in spirits if the bar were too close to Myrda as it might impede your escape velocity or judgement.

      Could it be this farmer partied too much over the holidays or has some wild hairs given he lives close? 🙂 Probably not with the deeper quakes and recent activity.

      If this erupts AND given the deeper quakes located around the anticipated cryptodome near Goðabunga (close to Eyja) that heralded the increase activity under Katla since 1999, I am now wondering how a 2nd Eyja eruption would impact Katla.

  2. Well, I dunno what to make of it.

    But here is a plot of the area with Dec 2010 and 2011 quakes in green with all of 2010 quakes in red and blurred to allow better view of the density. This allows you to see where the new quakes are in relation to the 2010 eruption quakes.


    1. We might not get a lot of earthquakes until the magma starts to break a new pathway under the top crater in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. If that happens it is impossible to know when that and where that might take place. But if this news reports are correct it is clear that something is going on in Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

      But it does not show up on the IMO seismometers.

      1. I do not think that the magma needs to break a new way. I would venture out and say that all of the conduits are wide open, this due to the magma not having cooled off sufficiently yet to block anything (still “liquid”).
        So I do not think there would be any need for anything that spectacular before an eruptions starts again.

        1. There has been no significant inflation recently, not even close to the changes before the last eruption. That is if you do not count the changes at Austmannsbunga, but that is Katla, not Eyja.
        2. The sofar total lack of tremor-increase. See link below for GOD. The huge amount of tremor in the beginning is of course the real eruption, the spike a week ago is the huge snowstorm, and what we have now is clearly just normal levels.


        So, I would say that Eyja could go off, but it hasn’t done much more than boomed a lot. My guess is steam explosions. After all there is a lake/lakes ontop of the craters filled with water, all it takes is just a hairline fracture and the water goes down and gets supercritical and “Boom” ensues.

  3. Jon,

    Could it have been a break in the glacier? I am not too familiar with glaciers and the noises they make. Of course, I would think a farmer in the area would know the difference between a glacier sound and a boom from a volcano.

    1. I am not sure on this one. The glacier there is a mess. But a collapse would make a different noise and a shorter one I would think. But so far it is unclear what is going on and if it is ongoing or if it has stopped or not.

      1. Ah, thanks, with the correct declination I found it on the map: it’s at road 253, quite far away from the volcano. If no one else has heard this in the area, it’s probably a false alarm, maybe some late firecrackers 😉

    2. Diane N CA

      “I would think a farmer in the area would know the difference between a glacier sound and a boom from a volcano.”

      Or someone with leftover fireworks who wanted to head out to a remote spot to set off the larger charges. It happens here, for about 2 to 3 days you’ll hear one go off that someone remembered that they hadn’t gotten around to firing.

      1. I disagree.

        I’ve lived in both settings and it applies equally well to both. And, being a bona-fide redneck I am fully aware of what people like me have a tendency to do. \Hey, we left this in the back of the truck… what do we do with it?\

        Not to mention the tendency to combine duded charges to make a really nice big one.

        Every whack a sputtering firecracker with a hammer? I have. It tends to overcome that loss of pressure that the messed up wrapper is causing.

        (Note, I don’t recommend doing this. But if you do, wear hearing and eye protection)

      2. I think it was Diane (CA) who told us of how rednecks use to drag old, used tires inta cinder cones and set them alight, so your take isn’t too outlandish, Lurking.

      3. Lol@ “redneck” comments! Maybe it was Icelandic farmers that have watched too many American movies or Dukes of Hazzard reruns. However, it sounds like it may have been real volcanic activity. Anyway, you guys over there in Iceland were lucky that things were seismically quiet during the holidays- except for the fireworks on New Year’s eve.

      4. When I lived in the countryside we used to mix fertilizer and diesel, add a cap and… Boom!

        It gets more interesting if you do it close to a city… But now one would probably get shot if one did it… Yet another reason to hate terrorists, they spoil all the fun of blowing things up that before was counted as normal 🙂

  4. I’ll stress it again, drunur is translated as a rumble, not explosion.

    A rumble is therefor a low frequency sound not a firecracker / fireworks

    1. Then you aren’t familiar with some of the ordinance that Rednecks can dream up…

      Seriously though, if they heard a rumble, it should have shown up on the seismos. If not, then it’s probably similar to some of the stuff that goes on around here. Low frequency rumbles that for all the world make you think that a quake has occurred… but nada. We usually attribute them to long distance thunderstorms or fighter activity… Eglin is nearby and well within earshot for the errant fighter that flies outside of mandated parameters. That or they are testing some new ordinance there. Oddly enough, the largest of the large FAE (Fuel Air Explosive) devices was tested there a few years ago and we heard nothing.

      And… there is always the possibility of a distant bolide.

      1. Dear Lurking.

        First a good translator of Icelandic into English

        http://www.tungutorg.is/ is somewhat like giggle, right up to a point.

        No mechanical translator will get the nuances of the Icelandic language nor will you get the (old) original meaning of a word, any more than the younger generation of Icelanders are familiar with it (sadly), the other word mentioned in the paper, sjávarniður (the farmers sort of synonym, another familiar sound from the environment) is the sound of (sea) waves.

        However you try you can’t make an explosion out of that even if the sound travels over distance.

        Drunur is something that you hear in an avalanche, before Geysir sprouts, all (-a distant bolide) you have mentioned above or even before/when an earthquake strikes. It’s a common word for a lot of things.

      2. If I ever get a permit for mining in Iceland I will show you large rumblings that indeed are explosions. But I am not arguing that you are correct in this instance.

        Icelandic is a wonderfull language, but I guess I had a lot of an easier time learning it due to not being anglonative 🙂

        (Sits down and mutters in the corner about the Icelandic Energy Department not answering e-mails, snail-mails, and having Manuel from Fawlty Towels answering the phone (hearing “Que?” with an icelandic accent is a must though).) Anybody up for helping?

      3. 2 reasons actually (except getting miserably wet and cold) that has to do with noise.
        1. The dampening effect makes them hear less well, and that makes them a bit anxious.
        2. Rain produces noise that drowns out the higher frequencies so they hear even less.
        Ie, they effectively go “blind”.

        I did not even need to Google that one.
        If you think about it, rain has pretty much the same effect on your vision acuity.

        To be precise here. Every surface on a soft material works as a dampener, since it takes up the energy of the soundwave and transfers it into the soft interior. As that soft interior starts to vibrate with the new soundenergy, friction ensues and transforms the energy into heat. Since it is a soft surface it cannot send out new soundwaves as easily as it “eats” it. So, even if every drop just absorbs a small amount of soundwave-energy the shear amount of drops will be very effective.
        The same goes for fog, in fog the drops are smaller, but they still perform the same function.

        A misspent youth doing physics research into sound you know… 😉

      4. [@Other Lurker] Appreciate the link(s)… but I’m still not put off the ordinance/jet/bolide idea. ( leaning more towards jet after clarification on the words )

        However, I am not knowledgeable on the typical sound that Iceland has on it’s coast line. I’m thinking waves breaking on rocks. If that’s the case then there is the problem of how to get that tonal mix to where the noise/sound report came from.

        Add to the mix the flock of Blackbirds that fell of the sky in Beebe Arkansas for no apparent reason… some showing signs of trauma, and things just keep getting weird. Beebe AR is just southeast of where that pesky quake swarm is at.

      5. I have it on good authority that the mysterious deaths of hundreds of blackbirds in AR were due to the flock flying straight into alien spacecraft that were invisibly hovering over the town of Beebe using cloaking devices. The alien craft are suspected to have an electrical field that would explain the trauma to the birds.

        I think the aliens have friendly benevolent intentions and feel badly when they kill some of our birds. Kinda of like unintended collateral damage where the means is justified by the end purpose of protecting mankind from its self-destructive bent. The aliens are here to sit on the sidelines and make sure we don’t destroy ourselves…kind of like angels hovering over us.

        For real guys…I am not kookie 🙂

      6. Well… my curiosity stems from animals behaving oddly before strong seismic events occur. But dropping dead is a bit extreme.

        Coupled with the fish death that also occurred, I was thinking that the birds were killed by the shock from the thunderclap of a bolt of lightning, and that it then hit the water and killed the fish.

        The problem is that the two sites are 152 km apart. And the ongoing swarm is between the two. I mark it as coincidence… that or it is just not a good time to be wildlife in Arkansas. Drum are bottom feeding fish, there were quite a few storms rolling through the area at the time. Birds – most likely lightning, Fish – probably killed by something in the run-off. The quake swarm – probably graben/horst movement along the Commerce fault. After all, that does fit the quake plots.

        As for the alien space craft, we’ll have to wait for the new Gov of California to tell us about that one.

      7. Couldn’t there have been two different storms and one killed the birds and another struck the water killing the fish?

      8. It doesn’t really matter. Storm systems that roll through here usually “train.” That’s where you get a line of storm cells that march north east up the approaching cold front. Generally by the time they reach the mid-south, they are almost one continuous line of solid storm. Sometimes you get a bow echoes where one part of the line gets ahead of the rest and it will spawn tornadoes… that or a particularly saturated pocket of warm air will go really soar to 45 or 50K foot cloud tops. Usually, this nastiest bit happens when you have a jet stream sitting over top of it, siphoning off the spent clouds and augmenting the vertical lift.

        So as an answer, yes that’s possible but either scenario could easily do it.

      9. The south coast is mostly sandy beaches, rocks near Vík and the sound carries far on flat land (Landeyjar).

        Jets, nah. Only postal flights (once a day) would fly that low for sound to be carried like that (I do know, rented a small plain for viewing Vatnajökull eruption in 1996 on the first clear day a week later – breathtaking, amazing forces of nature).

        Re the birds, do you know what the sediment is like where the quakes were?

      10. Sediment: Heavily eroded ex-mountains nearby, but the area around Beebe Arkansas is flat flood plane and farmland. The birds all fell within a one mile area from what I understand.

        Beebe Arkansas: 35.070652°N – 91.879521°W

        Ongoing quake swarm near Guy Arkansas:
        Vicinity of 35.301900°N – 92.334300°W

        Fish kill on the Arkansas River, western point at the dam 35.471617°N – 93.814536°W to the bridge at 35.393633° – 93.531170°W. Very mature river.

        The Bird and Fish positions are derived from news reports.

      11. Birds are really sensitive to some smells and gas, caged birds become very agitated by both like miners of old knew, you do have to remove them from, airing the place is not enough.

        Just wondering if it could be possible that earthquakes could have relished gas(es) from the swamps nearby, only “trapped” birds would caught by that – then it’s just a question of how far they could fly before they drop dead.

      12. @Lurking:
        Lightning cannot kill a flying bird. It cannot ground out so it will not even be hit, unless it is on the ground. Second of all it would have required hundreds of hits to get all the birds. Third, after checking (saw it on swedish news) with an ornitologist friend of mine, birds do not fly during thunderstorms.
        But I am totally stumped at the dead birds. It really spooked me. I would guess viral agent, or chemical agent, probably weapons grade. Only explanation I can come up with.

    2. With this translation and the fact that we see no quakes in the timeframe in question, I would say that ice breaking and falling down in the damaged Gigjökull is the most probable cause for this. I’ve seen seracs breaking and falling in the alps, they can rumble quite loud.

      1. Even if it was ice I would have expected it to show on seismic meters (however small), the sound has been verified as far as Hvolsvöllur by the local police.

      2. If it is a weak signal, it may get drowned in the noise. We don’t see the raw data like from Jón’s instruments. What was the weather around last evening in that area?

      3. @The other Lurker:

        No, and adamantly so.
        Both rain and fog are sound-dampeners, and always so, since it increases the mass that the energy needs to excite.
        Wind can help in conducing sound when going downwing.

  5. O my! I was planning not to look at a computer for a week and Eyjaf goes! In my only week in a tropical paradise! Well, I’ll be lurking from behind *sigh*

    1. Wait a minute…
      What did you say, only a week in a tropical paradise???? *the largest noggin’ scratchin’ ever*

      You live in Rio right? That is a tropical paradise dude! Try out friggin’ sweden 🙂

      So according to me you already live in paradise with warmer wether, beautifull women, pretty much the works.
      I live in arctic cold, snowstorms, and women that marches like Wehrmact occupying Poland.

      (Hope you had a nice New Years Eve! Just had to mutter a bit 🙂

  6. Sounds like ice breaking and falling to me…

    GOD tremors are pretty normal, but check GRF, it’s on the rise again.

  7. What does the historical records say about Eyjafjallajökull? Is it common behaviour that the volcano is dormant for a short period before going off again or would this be a unique event if she were to blow up again?

    1. If I remember correctly there was a long intermission in the eruption 1821-1823. I do not know if that intermission was longer than this one has been though. Jón probably knows better.
      But it was during the second eruptive phaze that Katla went off.

  8. I arrived the day before yesterday in Iceland. Still no talk about Eyja here in Reykjavík. When I hiked to Fimmvorduhals last summer, you could still see the red lava flowing some meters below cracks of the new solidified lava, so maybe this is just some old magma movements. But one thing is sure: earthquake activity is much more high there now

  9. The last deep earthquake in Eyjafjallajökull volcano was on the 1st of January 2011. The depth was 17,5 km and the size of that earthquake was ML0,7.

  10. I am a bit more concerned about the activity taking place at Kistufell and Hamarinn (coincidently I spent christmas watching the TV-series with the same name).

    There has been some really nice quakes there and the uplift just continues there.

  11. I am also interested in the concentration of activity near Kistufell and Hamarinn. Any thoughts on if this is magmatic or tectonic activity?

  12. Now they are saying they think the birds collided with obstacles, having been forced to fly low due to overhead fireworks. Apparently they are a breed of bird with particularly poor eyesight.

    1. Well… I was going to disagree on the eyesight issue, but these are not crows.

      The Louisiana birds are problematic. But the common clue here seems to be that the die-off is localized. In the Beebe AR one, all the birds were within about a mile of each other. In Louisiana, within about 1/4 mile stretch of the roadway. (according to one report).

      Of note is that both events happened right at New Years, and there were storms rolling through both areas. Possibly the birds were caught up in a vortex, or a micro-burst slammed them into the ground. I’m going to lean towards the micro-burst idea.

      The two bird die-offs are about 500 km apart.

    2. I’ve been ruminating about how the fish might be connected.

      Micro-bursts occur when a mass of air becomes rapidly cooled (rain/ice/hail). As it falls it gains momentum, depending on the thermal conditions it encounters. Micro-bursts have been known to take down airliners, and in some instances to flatten buildings. Only in post analysis of the debris can the experts determine if it was a tornado or not.

      Large storms drop hail, and water that is pretty close to freezing. At 45kft, the air is not what one would call “balmy.” If a mass of very cold rain, mixed with hail… falling at a liquid rate of about 2 to 3″ per hour hit the watershed for that part of the river, the cold run-off could cause the temperature near the bottom of the river to drop quickly. This stress could kill fish if it happened fast enough.

      Hmm.. I guess I left out the aliens. Oh well.

      1. Fish in such huge numbers ought to have been poisoned somehow, no? Could the earthquakes somehow have emitted something? (I know it sounds vague :-)) Is the place where the fish died downstream from where the earthquake swarm takes place? Or doesn’t the river even pass that area?

        It could be easier to tell how the fish died than the birds, of course the birds had signs of trauma if the fell down from the skies.

      2. The quake swarm is a significant distance from the fish kill. I also think its in a different watershed.

        Drum are bottom feeding fish, like catfish. They usually get the leftover detritus in the river.

        Poisoning? Possible, I guess. If so it could have been a herbicide or insecticide washed down from the surrounding fields. Something like that would show up in the toxicology that they are likely going to do on a sample group. I’m pretty certain that test will be done simply because the government really likes to lay the blame at someones feet, and if they can find a culprit they will fine them into bankruptcy.

  13. This storm is annoying me. It is spoiling my viewing of Iceland’s geological entertainment.

  14. Cats & dogs have already eaten dead birds without ill effect, should have shown some symptoms.

    1. That’s a very valid point.

      And there have been no reports that I’ve seen about family pets going paws up.

      “Laboratory on a leash”

      1. Okay, that sort of shoots my theory all to hell and back.

        Snippets from your link. Bold is mine.

        …began falling from the sky late on New Year’s Eve and continued into the next day.

        …KARK4 meteorologist Greg Dee, intrigued by the mystery of the birds falling from the night sky, pulled radar images from the time period it happened, posted them on Facebook and said,

        “Radar around Beebe at 11pm last night showed no storms. The closest storm was in eastern Arkansas (Lee County) some 50 miles away. Hail was very unlikely. Radar data from Friday night also indicates that there were only 2 lightning strikes around 11pm last night in the area. The two cloud-to-ground strikes were over 50 miles away… We have no way however of detecting cloud-to-cloud lightning so there is a chance it could have been that.”

        …Preliminary autopsies on 17 of the up to 5,000 blackbirds that fell on this town indicate they died of blunt trauma to their organs

        …The trauma was primarily in breast tissue, with blood clots in the body cavity and internal bleeding. All major organs were normal and the birds appeared to be healthy. Gizzards and stomachs of the birds were empty.

        …It’s estimated that up to 5,000 birds fell before midnight

        …Apparently, loud booms were heard and reported, however the last I have seen was that the authorities were looking into what might have made the noise. The booming sound reported was much more than your average bottle rocket.

        Okay.. weird meter is pegged.

        BTW, a note on the storms being 50 miles away. Near where I grew up, a tornado took out the little strip mall shopping plaza next to the skating rink. (roller, we didn’t know what ice was back then) There was a new small bridge that had been built over a creek on the four lane road.

        The tornado took that too.

        This was not some generic high exposure bridge on pylons. It was a solid slab of reinforced concrete… A quick ballpark estimate is it weighed about 10 to 30 tons (US). Was flush with the ground, and the only exposure underneath was the creek bed, about 10 to 15 feet deep. One thing that is second nature after a tornado rips through where you live, is you try to figure out what trees went in which holes. It passes the time as you are trying to collect what is left of your belongings. Been there done that.

        No one has ever found that slab of concrete.

      2. Birds are dying en masse here in Sweden as well. The papers are writing about two incidents in different locations of several hundred birds happening at night. So I doubt the earthquake swarm in Arkansas is the reason.

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