Earthquake swarm at Geysir volcano

Tonight at 01:34 UTC (9th of January 2011) a earthquake swarm started at Geysir volcano. So far this earthquake swarm is slow moving, but with the largest earthquake reaching the size ML2.7 at 4.2 km depth according to automatic earthquake detection system that Icelandic Met Office has (SIL system).

So far it is hard to know how this earthquake swarm is going to develop. As this area normally does not have a lot of earthquakes.

I am going to post more updates of there are any major developments in regards to this earthquake swarm at Geysir volcano. I do expect the largest earthquake to have been felt in nearby farms in this area.

94 Replies to “Earthquake swarm at Geysir volcano”

      1. Ha, well no worries from my direction. I’m quite impressed and fascinated with Sami sorcery and the history thereof. Call it fantasy or whatever but I do think that the condemed Sami spirits of long ago are vengeful- rightfully so.

  1. Oh my…

    The last of the Sami shamans was Enok Sarri who was something of a celebrity. He famously predicted that the first born in the royal familly would be a prince, otherwise he would crawl on his knees from where he lived at Nikkaluokta to Kiruna. Then the crown-princess Victoria was born, and everyone marvelled at the huge fox he had behind his ear when he crawled a couple of hundred metres to the city limit of Kiruna. What everyone had forgotten was that Kiruna was the areally largest city in the world…

      1. Ok Carlito Superstar, here it is straight from the dictionary. Take it to your supersonic volcano chair and sit on it, by all means:
        Norse (nôrs) adj.
        1. Of or relating to medieval Scandinavia or its peoples, languages, or cultures.

        Sorry, thought Sweden was part of Scandinavia. This whole weekend was like The X Files. Hope it stays that way because the usual is boring.

      2. Sorry, that dictionary is rather wrong.
        The language was called forn-nordic, Norse, Swedish, Danish, Faeroese, and Icelandinc are decendant languages with Icelandic being the closest.
        Viking and Medieval Scandinavia was never ever ruled by the Norse. Norway-Denmark emerged as one country after Viking age ended. Sweden-Finland was one country.
        Culturaly the Norse was the weakest of Sweden Norway and Denmark.
        The reason for the prevailing erronoeous belief in the US that Norse was “da shit” is that Leif Eriksson discovered America.
        The Danes occupied England and large parts of France, Sweden invented Russia, beat back the Mongols and pretty much ran the east before those pesky russians decided to go on their own 😉

        Yes Sweden is a part of Scandinavia together with Norway and Denmark, with Finland and Iceland as affiliated members.
        Even more exact, the Scandian mountain chain only runs through sweden and norway.

      3. No word about Finnish culture? Ok: sauna and heavy drinking. That is, before civilization reached Finland somewhere in the 19th century. And after Swedes lost their interest in keeping their army fit for major bouts, Finns kept the Russians away from Fennoscandia…

      4. We have a saying in Finland: The only thing better in Sweden is the eastern neighbor!

      5. Yeah, it used to be that it did not take much to accomplish that! But, times they are a changing… ;o)

      6. Yepp, it is soon time again 😉
        For those who are not of either the Finnish or the Swedish persuasion; All of the other Hockey teams in the Olympics or World Championships are only rink-fillers. The real finale is Sweden/Finland, whenever it happens. 🙂

      7. Sugrún

        You are correct on the word Norse or rather Old Norse, it was spoken by the Vikings and later split into the languages that remain today.

      8. @AK:
        In the US they say that. But it is rather inconsistent wording.
        Scientificly it is forn-nordic, or germanoskandian. It came up from the germanic hinterlanden through Denmark, then through Sweden before it entered Norway (who by then was mostly Sami). So calling it Norse is just redicolous. Norse (two current languages, Book-tongue and new Norse is spoken today) followed a natural separation process from the forn-nordic and became the modern languages of Norse.
        It is the same silliness as calling the Vikings for Norsemen… The actual norsemen was a very small minority among the Vikings.
        I know that you americans are hellishly proud of having been discovered by Leif Eriksson, but please try to avoid rewriting our history out of lack of knowledge (If I sound rather miffed, then you should hear the screaming among historians… 🙂 )

      9. @Carl

        But Old Norse is just the name for the proto-scandinavian language, nothing to get upset about. 🙂

      10. Actually, it riles everyone here… Or at least most.

        And actually it is not the same, except in american english speaking world. The actual word is fornnordiska, the name of the language that among others the Norwegians spoke. The norse language developed later in the 14th century.

        It would be like calling the origin of american english for australian due to the tea-trade…

      11. @Jack @ Finland: Totaly agree! I live in Sweden and we got counterproductive taxes and the immigration politic is beyond catastrophic.

        Not that I dont sympathy with people who is less fortune than us Scandinavians but we cant go on like this if we want a bright future.

        Bottom line: Finland got it right.

      12. @Philip:
        Oddly enough Sweden is the country with the highest growth-rate in the industrialized world. 3 highest purchasing power after Luxemburg and Norway.
        I would actually say that it is the imigration-policy and taxation that does it.
        We apparantly did something right since we escaped the crisis pretty much flying high on a kite.
        Let us take the US as another example. The down-trend in economy exactly follows trend with attempts to lower imigration in reverse. The fewer the imigrants the worse the economy. I know, the wars…
        Secondly, due to low taxation the US is not able to balance their budget, for every government dollar spent, they have to borrow 39 cents. That has led to the US no longer being allowed to borrow money abroad, so instead they just print money without coverage. Ie, they are bancrupt, or at least would be if they where a company. This out of the net worth of the entire US being lower than the debt mass (private, company, state).
        No the problem with Sweden are lazy, uneducated and stupid swedes who never get their thumbs out of their asses and get a job and education. I am tired of hearing about “bohoo” imigrants steal the jobs. It is not true. I have had 10 job ads out for half a year, with only 1 aplicant (from the US, he came the day after calling, and started emediatly, something a lazy ass swede would never do.).
        So what did poor ol’ me do? I imported 9 friends of my new employee. Incredibly skilled and straight from Flint and Dearborne Michigan.
        Interestingly enough told me that swedish salaries are higher after taxes than what they had at GM and Ford. Hm…

      13. The problem is that Sweden accept people with values that doesnt work with western society.
        We may be the most equal country (speaking of men and women) in the world and I want it to stay that way.

        I also wanna deliver a strong dislike to the sacralization of Sweden.

        By the way: In average it takes 7 years for immigrants to get a job in Sweden.

        Gotta hand it to the economics tho, they’re doing a great job!
        Good thing we dont got the communist parties in the lead anymore.

      14. @Carl le Strange

        I have to take a bit of exception with that. The US problem is not a lack of taxes, it’s an inability of our idiot politicians to stop spending like a crackhead looking for a fix.

        Canada’s business taxes are lower than the US and it’s starting to pull some companies north of the boarder. Our government penalizes the crap out of businesses with bureaucratic B/S, regulations and taxes, then bleats their collective arses off when the jobs disappear to locations that yield a higher margin.

        It’s sort of like a reverse import tariff. As normal, when you penalize something, such as doing business in the US, you get less of it. If you reward something, such as having kids for more benefits with little responsibility to take care of it… you get more of it.

        Secondly, it’s not the immigration issue that is the problem, it is the ILLEGAL immigration. People sit in the que for years to deal with the bureaucracy of becoming naturalized, paying their dues and doing the work, only to have some hapless soul who paid the coyote the requisite fare to truck him across. These people are the real victims. If they get abused by their employer or are underpaid or work in hazardous conditions, who are they gonna tell? They are ILLEGAL. We might as well call it what it is, voluntary slave labor.

        Add to that the friken s-bag (yeah, I said it) politicians who absolutely REFUSE to enforce banking regulations and indict the criminals…

        Well, you can see where that leads.

        Back before I plotted quakes, I used to plot other stuff. Here is one that I no longer plot since the Bureau of Labor and Statistics started monkeying around with their models and skewing the data… essentially hiding the facts.

        I think it speaks for itself… but like all things, no one seems to notice key events… like the major inflection points in these curves and what changes coincide with the job losses turned upward quite noticeably.

        Enough of a rant from me.

      15. @Lurking:

        I was not talking about company taxes. But, the total amount of taxes payed on salaries in Sweden is 48 percent, but in that retirement funds and public healthcare is included, so if you count that into an average american tax you get about the same, so you definitly have a point in federal spending. Above 72K$ annualy the taxes start going up a bit though.
        Swedish company tax is (counting on how you define it) in practicality 0%. But if you decide to pay out money to shareholders you pay tax on the dividend part of the company profit. Ie, as long as a company keap on investing no taxes are paid. But the shareholders dividend tax is steeeeeeep at 60%. It is though a beautifull incitament for the companies to re-invest its money.

        Personally I prefer (with most Swedes) to pay for healthcare and retirement on my taxes, any other system have sofar showed that you end up with people starving to death when old, or dying in lack of hospital treatment.
        And since I am paying pretty much max-taxes and dividend taxes on shares I pretty much pay retirement and healthcare for quite a few others, but it is fine with me. After all, I can only eat so many steaks and drink so many beers.

        Sorry if I sounded judgemental, I am normaly not, especially not against hardworking Averages Joes. I just got miffed from the Norse discussion. Something I think most US citizen would be if we localy renamed America into Canada since Leif Eriksson went to Newfoundland, and said you spoke canadian… 🙂

        I hope the US get the economy running again, and I think you will. But I guess it will be hard and painfull, and might be a blow to the ego since it requires severe cuts in the military spending.

    1. Thanks for the info, I will take your word on this. Looks like that dictionary is useless and inferior.

      1. Just to clarify, my “dictionary” comment above was @Carl le Strange. Thanks to everyone for the opinions but it seems that the true “Norse” all agree that the American dictionary definitions of this word are incorrect. It’s not that I want to concede to Carl, it’s that the Norse likely have a better grasp of the true definition and history of the word “Norse” than we do. Furthermore, American English definitions of the word “Norse” should not carry more weight or be considered to be more “valid” just because they are American definitions. I love the USA because it is the land I was born on- even though we are quite flawed like everyone else. I can and do love this land without loving the politics.

      2. p.s.: I forgot to include that I asked some fairly educated Norwegians about the word “Norse” and they agreed with Carl on his version of the definition. Please note that I’m not implying that Carl is Norse, just to be clear.

      3. Could be worse, he could be Mississippian… like me.

        Not that I’m 318 million years old… it’s just the state I’m from.

      4. Hm, would be cool to be 318 million years old, just imagine the amount of candles on the cake 🙂

        By the way, Norway is stunningly beautifull and the shrimps are beyond belief! (And they are the inventors of scientific meteorology, thanks for that Bergen-school)

    1. A404 Askja at 65,060000 & -16,728611

      HEBD Herðubreið at 65,181500 & -16,396694

      HEBL Herðubreiðalindir at 65,180000 & -16,209722

      1. I hope they make them public, after all they are pretty much more interesting than most of the places in Iceland right now. Judging by the data from 6 months ago Askja/Herdubreid is the most likely volcano to erupt so I really wish I could monitor them closer.

        Thank you for the links!

    1. I use the time and location data from Icelandic Met Office for that. All I see on my sensors (it also appeared on my Hvammstangi station) are the P and S waves. But I need a minimal of three geophone stations in order to locate a earthquake. So far I only have two geophone stations up and running.

    1. Hengill would be really bad…
      When I did my calculation of which volcano has had most large scale eruptions (according to my previously posted definition) Hengill was the runner up to Bardarbunga, but I downgraded it since it pretty much has had no large eruption for a very long time.
      It is after all 3800 years since the last large eruption and 2000 years since the last small one. It has mostly effusive lavaruns and should probably be pretty unexplosive, but a large eruption could still spell disaster for Reykjavik. Lets hope it goes back to sleep, that is one volcano Iceland don’t need.

      But sofar there seems to be no raised tremoring at Kaldarsel and Sandskeid, but the GPS movement is massive. Truly spectacular wit 30mm uplift and south movement in five days, and the east component is more then 50mm in the same time. (Numbers for OLKE-station).

      1. There is movement in all surounding stations.
        I think it is triggered by all the activity from Krisuvik earlier. Any connections between these two volcanos are as far as I know very poorly understood.

      2. I can’t understand the plot. The scale data ends in 2008 in this plot. Is it the right page ?

    1. Don’t think so. It is only the surrounding ones that has that uplift. The Krisuvik station doesn’t show an uplift like this. And the uplift pattern varies to much for it. The OLKE has shown this pattern for a bit too long to be ice I think.
      But I hope it is ice. A small eruption from Hengill is a cubic kilometre of lava… A large would be like, hm… an extended Laki or something, hopefully without all the gas-emission.

  2. Can anyone recommend a decent reference map of Iceland showing Volcanoes and detailed place names. All the ones I have seen are often difficult to read (i.e red font on coloured background), too small or too simple. e.g Google Map search “Volcanoes of Iceland) or look at the Smithsonian maps. Text content possibly OK. but Maps are simplistic and small.

    1. Sometimes I think that Icelanders swear a holy oath to Odin to kill anyone who is not an Icelander who sees “The Holy map of Iceland and all its Volcanos”.
      I think you have to go and buy one and fill in the volcanos as you get their locations and names on your own. That is what I have resorted to. Oh no… Now I will be killed as a spy… 🙂

  3. I am confused here, some of the quakes are in Helgafell (Helgadalshraun) which is a part of Brennisteinsfjöll…

    I kind of don’t like the idea of increased activity in 3 out 4 volcanos in that small little space. (And for those who haven’t been around here for long, that is Krisuvik, Brennisteinsfjöll and Hengill. The still quiet fourth is Svartsengi, the onland part of Reykjaness Volcanis System, the underwater part is Reykjanesshryggur).

    Just outside you have Hromundartindur that inflated with magma during 4 years in the nineties.

  4. So all in all, is all this quake activity, etc just par for the course for Iceland. If not, there are some that state that Iceland is entering a more active period.

    Similiarly, there are many lay people who say that quake activity in the world is spiking, yet scientists state otherwise that this is just normal activity levels.

    1. Let me here state the “Law of Lurking”.
      As the amount of measurement equipment increases in number, the amount of quakes detected goes up concordingly.

      Iceland might be entering a more active period, but it would only be degrees in hell more than usuall anyhoo. But most of the increases we have seen lately has only been weatherrelated or due to increase in equipment.
      It is quite normal for Iceland to have a couple of quake-swarms per week, and about one eruption per 5 years. So, in reallity the last ten years have been slow…

  5. Could it be possible that these swarms and magma intrusions (Krysuvik, Hrómundartindur, Hengill mayby) are the first signs of a new eruptive cycle in Reykjanes Peninsula, as there has been one around the 10-13th century? This last eruptive episode of volcanoes in Reykjanes Peninsula included a double eruption of both Krysuvik as Brennisteinsfjoll.

  6. Thanks to all that provided different map references, I promise not to tell anyone. I thought Birdseye’s contribution very interesting in showing which systems are perhaps interrelated. Perhaps the IMO could assist by enhancing the locations of Volcanoes on their eq maps, or provide more detail in place names so when they say 3.1 km NE of X, X is actually marked on their map.

    1. Nah, that would be against their oath to Oden.
      But you can normally find the names on the maps on Google-sat. They are though a bit colourfull and humoristic.
      As noted I live the SIL-station of Kaldarsel.
      From the beginning Kaldarsel was a farmstead, but it got abandoned for obvious reasons. Apparantly the first to farm it named it after the sensation he felt at the place. Kaldarsel is icelandic for Cold Arse.
      Another less obvious place to find with quakes is Litla Kafistofan (search for Little coffeehouse).

    1. Last datapoint is 16 december, and I’m pretty sure Mohalsadalur is located just west of Krysuvik. When I googled it I found a travel description from the Rough Guide to Mohalsadalur, located near Keilir/Krysuvik.


  7. I was in Reykjavík today that is why I have not yet written about the earthquake swarm that took place there today. But I am going to do so after a good sleep after this trip of mine to Reykjavík.

    There is a good chance of a new earthquake swarm at Reykjanes ridge in less then 48 hours.

    1. Nice map.

      Can anybody explain the geology of the Westfjords area? Seems like rest of Icelands is built by volcanoes but in Westfjords they appear to be missing.

      1. The west fjords are also of volcanic origin. But they are the oldest part of the country – some 20-30 mio years old, if I remember correctly. There is no active volcanism left, so its the safest place in Iceland in terms of volcanic eruptions.

      2. The volcanoes that did build the Westfjords have been eroded away by time. The Westfjord also used to be a plateau before glaciers made a short work out of it.

    1. Yes, I see what you mean. More like a fault than magma – unless it is a dyke forming.

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