New earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

A new earthquake swarm is currently taking place 2 – 5 km NE of Hellisheiðarvirkun. But that is a geothermal power plant that operates in Hengill volcano.

The largest earthquake so far is a ML1.5 in size when this is written at 03:27 UTC (04:27 CET). There is a good chance that this earthquake swarm is going to continue in the next few hours.

40 Replies to “New earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano”

  1. So, if I understand it, the swarm started at Krisuvik and moved on to Hengill?
    Looks like it is still ongoing.

  2. The swarm seems to be a respectable one. 117 events in the reykjanes area during the last 48 hrs.

  3. Early wake, uh, Daniel?
    Well, I think they are getting further to the east. There was one at Selfoss, but still poorly located.
    Hope they don’t proceed to the east, because the path leads to Hekla.

    1. Would surprise me mightily, those quakes is probably a sign of Hengill waking up, and that is bad news in itself. Let me remind all that Hengill is the volcano with the largest lava output since the end of Iceage.

  4. Yes indeed. I saw a documentary about the creation of Iceland yesterday and they spoke about the larger events like Laki, Grimsvötn and of course Hekla. The fissure eruption a few decades ago. Awesome footage in that documentary. However a large eruption at Hekla where the land splits open across an 8 mile fissure stretch would indeed be a..bad thing. 🙂

    1. Like the previous one… I’m thinning it’s following a pre-existing structure. (dike or fault).

      In Arkansas, it seems to be a block fracture along a joint in shale/chert. (though some of them are down into what I think is the basement)

    2. The plott looks like there is a regional dike that is intruding there. I think if the quakes would be caused by a borehole of the geothermal powerplant, then the quakes should be concentrated on a small spot.

      what are your other thoughts? does a dike, perhaps on a pre-existing fault sound realistic?

      1. It is the Hromundartindi sub-volcano, part of Hengill.
        Since Hengill is a crater-row volcano it should be an extending dyke that might lead to a regional fissure eruption. I am actually happy as long as it does not go in under the central part of Hengill, because then Thingvallavatn will be involved and then it will go phreatic.


    1. Dont know what the ice-buildup looks like at the moment but since the GPS station is placed on a piece of solid rock the inflation would be real (unless there is ice on the antenna)
      But since the North/South and East/West doesnt show any significant deviations I would guess ice on the antenna would be a plausible explanation.

      1. there is movent to the east and north, but its not as big as the up-movement. ice on the antenna could be the cause, but the up-, east-, and north-movement has ben quite steady over the last few days. so i think it shouldn’t be ice. but as allways, we can only wait and see what the future brings us.

        ps. im purely speculating, i am only interessted in the icelandic volcanos and i only have my opinion which surely lacks any credibility!

      2. For all the previous cases with ice on the antenna, there has been also quite fast changes in other directions too, either at the onset or end of the case. This is not the case now, hence I belive this is genuine inflation. However, Sigrun has marked these points as affected by ice (see ), so I guess I’d better believe her despite my own doubts.

      3. Isn’t Sigrun’s data other data then the IMO data? I think this is true inflation but it has been going on for a long long time, it’s take a bit of a steeper turn but the fact that Grimsvotn could be ready to erupt any second (it could also wait years, but the odds for that are rather small) is not new.


  6. Nice earthquake swarm seems it is still continuing

    What’s with all the peoples posting this?

      1. Maybe it should be stated then somewhere on the blog as a general note..
        Since this practically doubles the amount of posts 😛


      2. It has happened because the press recently misquoted this site, or at least, we think it was this site.

      3. It didn’t misquote this site, it quoted Jon. And on that part they told the truth:

        “After the
        Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in 2010 it seems that geologists in Iceland take earthquake swarms more seriously then they did before.”


        “He explained the Icelandic Met Office had on Sunday warned of the increased risk of a eruption in north-west side of Vatnajökulll glacier due to the high earthquake activity in the area, and added: ‘It is clear that only time is going to tell us if there is going to be a eruption in this area soon or not.”

        That’s pretty much it, the fact that time will tell is not really a lie and neither is the fact that Icelandic volcanoes are monitored better since the eruption in Eyjafjallajokull.

  7. In the worst case scenario, if these swarms lead up to an eruption, this wouldn’t likely affect air traffic over Germany would it? My elderly Mom flies to Germany in 1 week. Of course, Grimsvotn is another story.

    1. Eruptions in Hengill volcano are of the Hawaii type. No ash, just red flowing lava. Unless if the eruptions happens under water, but given the location it is unlikely factor.

      1. Depends on if it is central parts of the Hengill, because that is nowadays covered by the sizeable Thingvallavatn. I do not know if that lake existed before, or if it has subsidized into existence since the last large Hengill eruption that was lavatic only.
        If it is the Hromundartindur area it will mostly be nice and hawaiian. If it goes under the lake it will be phreatic. Sofar it looks like it would (if it erupts) be hawaiian.
        But… I do not think anyone knows anything about the gasses involved. If it is like Hekla (fluoridic) or Laki (sulphuric) it might be one hell of a nuisance or even deadly on a local scale.
        Hopefully it would just be one hell of a tourist volcano though.

    2. These swarms most probably won’t lead to an eruption. These swarms are common in this area and most often have to do with either a deep-nested dyke intrustion, a tectonic fault or the hydrothermal installation which is nearby. And even if the very very very unlikely event would occur and an eruption would start, it would be mostly effusive and therefor it wouldn’t produce large quantities of ash as we’ve seen a year ago.
      So no worries at all.

      1. I kind of don’t agree with you here.
        Hengill is still active, it has had a succession of magmatic intrusion at root level, it has a dyke, and this is a rather sizeable swarm, so it might be the start of a runner up for an eruption.

        CAVEAT, The usual crap!

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