A ML2.3 earthquake in Grímsfjall volcano

A earthquake with the size of ML3.3 ML2.3 took place at 01:19 UTC in Grímsfjall volcano. At the current moment no other earthquakes have been spotted following this single event. It is also remains unclear at the moment if this is a start of a eruption in Grímsfjall volcano. But at the moment there is nothing that indicates that a eruption is about to start in Grímsfjall volcano. But that can change with out any warning at all.

Note that EMSC is reporting this earthquake with the size of ML4.3. It is unclear at the moment what is the correct size for this earthquake.

Text updated at 11:40 CET on the 25th of February 2011. EMSC did change it down to ML3.3 size.
Text updated at 22:57 CET on the 25th of February 2011.

83 Replies to “A ML2.3 earthquake in Grímsfjall volcano”

  1. Ty 🙂
    Was just wondering about that.
    Was looking 2 and 3 times at the websides and was really confused!

  2. Any chance you have captured it on your geophone?

    From looking at http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/oroi/grf.gif
    There is a bit of noise in the 2-4hz band… typically magmatic earthquakes are mostly in this band, yes? But it has been going on for several days. I’m not sure if that’s something to be worried about. What do you think?

    I see there is also a mag 2.6 at Eyjafjallajökull… very close to Katla? Interesting times we live in.

    1. @Seattlite, I didn’t see it on my Hekla geophone due to wind. But I might have been recorded on Hvammstangi geophone. But I have to check for that later.

      The earthquake close to Katla appears to be a ghost, created by the earthquake in Grímsfjall volcano.

  3. There was just a 2.6 on the NW rim of Katla caldera at10km at exactly the same time as the Grimsvotn quake. Compare the time stamps below. I wish I had that luck at the roulette wheel! Time to throw some holy virgins into one of them as the gods might be angry.

    25.02.2011 01:19:37 63.688 -19.245 10.0 km 2.6 88.08 5.3 km N of Goðabunga

    25.02.2011 01:19:18 64.402 -17.281 1.1 km 3.3 90.05 0.5 km SW of Grímsfjall

    1. Sacrifice? Ha! Carl said he’s going over to Iceland on his way home this weekend. I predict that he’ll make off with the virgins before anyone can toss ’em in.

      1. Very true, but if the vodka is flowing atop the caldera he won’t know the difference between them and the sheep.

    1. Meanwhile Krisuvik is going crazy too.
      Why these things come in herds, sneaking in the late of the night when there’s no one there seeing what they’re doing?

      1. Thank you Jón.
        Try to take some sleep, you will be needed tomorrow.
        Hope them volcanoes will let us all have some rest tonight. 🙂
        Thanks again!

  4. The Grímsfjall 3.3 was also very shallow, only 1.1 km depth according to IMO. Seems to strong for a ice related tremor, unless due to heat from below.

    Krýsuvík is also having another swarm right now, depths are likewise getting shallow (10 tremors at less than 3.5 km in the last 4 hours).

    Two at once?

  5. The EMSC site redirects the information on the 4.3 quake to IMO office, so, I should say IMO has the up to date firgure, which is 3.3 m.
    If you look below EMSC information you will see this:
    “Source parameters provided by another agency”.
    Well, all we have to do is sit and wait. As for Krýsuvík, I think she’s doing what she’s been doing for a long time, don’t you think?
    And the quake in Godabunga is poorly located, probably a ghost, as Jón stated.

    1. This earthquake was also detected by two other seismograph networks it seems. But I do think that is a error. But we are going to see if the EMSC corrects this or not. It often happens that wrong information get into EMSC lists.

      1. Thank you Jón.
        Try to take some sleep, you will be needed tomorrow.
        Hope them volcanoes will let us all have some rest tonight.
        Thanks again!

  6. My Mom flies out from So Calif, U.S. to Germany on Monday. Having said that, any opinions are welcomed as to speculation on whether any eruption at Grimsvotn would affect air traffic over Germany and guesses as to the VEI. I know this is purely shooting from the hip, but thats all I care about now is possibilities so I can make contingencies.

    Jon, still waiting for your PayPal, etc to get setup.

    Lastly, if we see more quakes that indicate magma is on the move, what is the expected time frame for an eruption. With Katla, one could expect it to be day(s). Is this the same with Grimsy Boy.

    Thanks All and Jon for great work and info on these important events!

    1. RonF:
      I wouldn’t be concerned about any flight disruption coming from an eruption in Grimsfjal.
      If it were Katla, and in very special weather conditions, maybe.
      We are still haunted by the mess caused by our Lady E.
      Your mum will be ok. 🙂

      1. Thanks Rio 🙂 I just called her and reassured her. No worries I guess, even if there is a surprise, she is staying with very wealthy people with many resources so she’ll be well taken care of.

      2. You’re welcome, John Vincent.
        Good to know there is another volcanophile among my colleagues. 😉

    2. @RonF. You can donate right now. The donate button is at the top of the Amazon ads. I have not yet changed my PayPal accounts. I will let people know when that work starts.

      At the moment it is impossible to say what Grímsfjall volcano is up to. But it is unusual to have many earthquakes of this size in Grímsfjall volcano and no eruption taking place.

    3. And Ron, check the “donate” button on the top of the right column,
      I think that is what you are asking about?

      1. Found it…thanks. I had been looking at the “Support Me!”|Donations link. Wrong path 🙂

        Pleasure to be of assistance!

      2. It is also under “Support Me!” links but not as a PayPal donation button, that is a new setup that I did start using few days ago. I had to clean up the top bar. It was getting a bit crowded with links. But the donate button is going to replace the support page and I am just going to change into information only page.

        Thanks for the support RonF. 🙂

      3. Your very welcome! Its going to a good cause and important work and I have reason to believe you will be very busy in the coming years and in need of more support.

        S.R. Hadden 🙂

        (from the movie Contact)

    4. Do you guys think that Cycle 24 a prob with regard to flying?. Read that solar flares (X class) can wreak havoc with GPS, electronics, electricity and satellites- possible problems if they’re effecting the hemisphere you’re on at the time they make impact. Although, the Earth’s magnetic field prevents worst case scenarios usually. (Lurking knows more about this than I do). The last X class one caused some radio problems in China. Here’s the link for NOAA updates: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/warnings_timeline.html

      Things have certainly gotten wacky, on Feb 15 2011, we had a flaming green “car size” meteor fly over Manhattan (midday): http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/Silver-Streaks-in-the-Sky-Likely–a-Meteor-116199184.html

      1. Meteorites have fallen from sky and will continue doing that. Some scientists have estimated, that Earth’s mass increases at least one ton a day due to stuff falling down from the sky…

        And for extreme spaceweather related effects on Earth, see http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12507 This is, I think one of the best modern resources on the issue.

      2. Well, any possible geomagnetic storm from a solar flare is known well in advance – at minimum 18 hours but typically 48-72 hours warning. But of course a big solar event is going to cause trouble. I’m just saying you’ll know before it

        Also, even if Grímsfjall is erupting right now it shouldn’t have any major impact on air travel to Germany on Monday because of the way the jet stream is currently flowing. The jet stream direction is what caused so much trouble with Eyjafjallajökull.

    1. How long normally before IMO reviews and correct their data? Grímsfjall is only at 90% quality. And the ghost quake 2.6 near Katla is still there, at 88%.

      Sorry if these questions are silly. I’m still new to how the Iceland seismic data is reported. And my Icelandic is not very good either… though I try to read and learn as much as I can. Jón, þakka þér fyrir hjálpina!

      1. It depends on how the day is going at IMO. I have no way to answer your question. As I do not know how the geologist at IMO do there work over the day.

  7. I’ve noticed that the most recent earthquake swarm was a bit more shallow than the previous swarms we’ve seen on this location. They used to be between a depth of 4km-6km and this swarm was (mainly) focused between 3km-4km. Ofcourse there are a lot of exceptions, but I think this is an interesting development. (Time vs. Depth plot? Lurking? :D)

  8. Nice blog. Can’t remember how I found it but since visiting Iceland I’ve been following what’s going on. Just to say that the Grimsfjall earthquake is now down to 2.3 according to vedur.

  9. The Grimsfjall quake got downgraded bigtime to a M2.3 quakie. The Katla-quake was downgraded to a 1.3km but at 10.1km (!) depth, which is very unusual.

    1. In doing the math, the Grimsy quake was downgraded 30%, but the Katla quake was downgraded 50%. If the Katla quake was a ghost of Grimsy, one could assume the downgrade percent would be the same for both, but this is a wild assumption as the downgrade would likely not be linear given the algorythyms used to calculate the final number.

      So, the ghost lives on? Or, the ghost is real? If its a ghost, I would expect it to disappear soon…like today?

  10. Krýsuvik is having the next earthquake swarm. Given the fact, that we have pretty bad weather with a lot of wind we are likely missing a number of weaker quakes. The last quakes all have a strength over 1.

      1. I don’t know. It could be as simple as stress migrating to the surface. When two plates are butted up against each other, there will be grinding along the interface, no matter how chaotic it is.

        But.. having said that, here is a plot that I want anyone who reads this to understand.. IS NOT A PREDICTION. It’s just a plot of the line for the APPARENT focus of the quake trend.

        Nothing more.


        ALL CAVEATS APPLY, I am not a geologist, I am not a seismologist, I’m just some guy at a computer waiting for a job ticket to come is so that I have something to do, passing the time plotting quakes for the entertainment value of it.

      2. Tha is a dangerous plot. I bet someone will in any case take this as a prediction…

    1. You should add data from 2003 at the earliest. As this area has been having earthquake swarm since then. But it has been hidden and lost in the earthquake activity that is normally on the Reykjanes.

      1. I can do that, but I have to open up the other (MASSIVE) spreadsheet.

        Gimme about an hour to slug down another cup of coffee and grab a sandwich.

      2. Thanks for that. You can clearly see when this really starts in the year 2009. But you can see how there are small swarms of earthquakes in this area over long period overview.

        But the activity appears to really start in the year 2009 and then it drops again.

    2. Great job! Thanks alot! Very interesting indeed. I’m sure that all I say about this plot is nonsense, I’ll leave it to other to interpret this one. I’m really curious how this will develop.

  11. I’ve noticed that as soon as the quakes migrated deeper halfway Januari 2011, the area started deflating. Now the quakes are shallower again, the area seems to show inflation again.


    Lurking, you’re doing a great job already with these sexy plots of yours, but I was wondering if it would be possible to overlay these two graphs sometime when you’re bored. It could give an interesting relation between inflation and quake-depth.

    1. Well, I do have the advantage of having access to the raw data.

      (nothing special about that, it’s publicly available and all I have done is to put it into a spreadsheet)

      What I do have a problem with is getting it all on one plot. But, with the raw data you can select periods that match the target graphic.

      So… same period as the KRIVstutt plot with my swarm plot in the top plane… aligned as well I can get it.


      1. Do you have this spreadsheet available for the public?
        Or can point me in the right direction to find the historical data? Thanks !

        And thanks for all the nice plots ! 🙂

    2. Now a bit about what I see in the plot.

      This swarm seems to be coincidental with a period of deflation. Think about it. You have a two piece lid with not smooth edges. As the area under the lid decreases pressure, the meeting point of the lid will move upwards as the two pieces of the lid move together.

      I think that is what is going on.

      Again… I am not an helminthologist… 😀

      1. What would these lids and the meeting point be in geological terms? I don’t really get the comparison.

      2. THE STRAIN METERS, GPS READINGS AND HARMONIC TREMORS on both Katla and Bardarbunga are off the charts. I think those earthquakes have created massive instability and magma is suddenly moving quickly !

        I am expecting a large eruption at anytime!

      3. There isn’t anything going on. This areas would both be full of earthquakes if there was a eruption going to happen.

        There is no such thing as a silent volcano eruption in Iceland. It is always followed by earthquakes in the start of it.

        While there are no earthquakes, there is nothing to worry about. There is even nothing to worry about even if there was a eruption starting in Iceland. But at the moment there isn’t any eruption starting.

        So lay off the scary tactics here in the comments.

  12. Caveat to my post above:

    I AM A QUALIFIED GEOLOGIST AND NEUROSURGEON, but lately have grown weary of taking my Lithobid. Besides, I rather enjoy the manic states occasionally and miss them dearly.

    1. I’m really sorry guys. I was sooo bored and my job stress is beyond my abilities to cope at this point. I figured a good eruption would pull me out of my condition and distract me :(. But seriously, I posted that and forgot to add the caveat right away as my boss called me and put me on an emergency project. And, I confess, I hope in the meantime, the media starting frantically writing up a draft story and got their Lederhosen all soaked.

      It won’t happen again. I promise.

    2. 😀 Seriously, what gives, Ron? Should I be running out stocking up on tins of beans and bottled water or still look forward to flying to London next weekend and camping out overnight in the X-Factor audition queue with my daughter?

      Is there really something afoot? No caveats – I won’t sue.

    3. I’d just like a link. The only thing I see is a spurt of noise on Jón’s Heklubyggð helicorder.

      1. Hey man, I am so sorry I wasted your time. I really meant to post the caveat to show it was a joke, but my damned boss keeps pestering me with emergencies. I guess the work stress has got to me. 65+ hours last week!

        I will send you a case of your favorite beer as compensation for your lossl.

      2. You mean I can’t have the link(s)? I went digging through my links trying to find one with a nice tight resolution but all I got was the coarse multi-year ones.


      3. What kind of beer do you like. And, can I have your job when you quit. I am weary of mine and envy the spare time to futz with plots.

        Lastly, just a thought, but if you ever need me to massage data, let me know. I am a DBA and databse programmer with a flare for data mining.

        btw, wasn’t my post an obvious attempt at a bad joke. Heck, I wouldn’t have believed my post.

  13. Huh? I have checked most graphs on the Icelandic Met Office and I can’t see any suspicious activity at both vulcanos. Only the tremor charts show a lot of spikes.
    Perhaps an expert can comment on this?

    1. It was a misguided joke on poor Rons part who serious apologizes for the misjudgement 🙂

      It won’t happen again

  14. @Lurking:
    Just out of curiosity: is there a record for small quakes and swarms occurring along the MAR? Usually, the data we have come from USGS, and they’re most above mag. 4.5.
    To my very lay eyes, the larger span graph looks pretty “stable”, I mean, it could reflect a pattern existent through all the rifting boundary.
    Would it be stupid to compare with quakes (within this magnitude range), let us say, the Azores?
    Please, I am not asking for plots, just curious here.
    And yes, they are sexy these graphs.
    Make me slobber… 😛

  15. I wish I could get MAR magnitudes that small. I just haven’t found any listings at all. When measuring quakes… especially really small quakes, proximity goes a long way in determining what you can hear.

    I’ve been across the MAR several times, and each time, I have failed to note any area where you can hop off and set up any seismo gear… let alone get data off of it. (a set of seismo sensors attached to a spear and dropped to the seafloor, tethered to a satellite access buoy might work… but that’s beyond my ability.)

    1. Alright… stupid question time.

      On the strain plots, does negative strain indicate compressive or extensional stress?

      1. It would depend on what is being measured and where you could have measuring stations, wouldn’t it ?

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