Last night at 21:39 UTC there was a ML0.7 earthquake in Hekla volcano. Depth of this earthquake was 1.3 km. It is unclear if this earthquake is a pre-event before a eruption starts. But few years ago there was a earthquke in Hekla volcano. But no eruption did happen that time around.
Hekla earthquake. Click on the picture too see it in full resolution. This picture is released under Creative Common License, see top link for more information.
This is a picture of the earthquake. The distance was 16.8 km from my geophone to the location of the earthquake. My geophone is close to Hekla volcano and because of that it is really sensitive to any activity that takes place in Hekla volcano (given good weather).
The earthquakes that are now taking place north of Askja volcano are interesting for many reasons. One of the biggest reason why this earthquakes are interesting is the fact how shallow they are. But it is also interesting on how small the area the earthquakes are taking place on.
This earthquake activity did start in Week 15 with one earthquake. In Week 16 the activity had grown up to few earthquakes. In Week 17 (current) the activity has continued to grow in this area. This activity currently stands out in the earthquake activity around Askja volcano.
While it is common for Icelandic volcanoes to erupt from a central vent. It is also common for Icelandic volcanoes too erupt from fissures (like Fimmvörðuháls Eruption 2010). One of the clues to this type of eruption close to a central volcano is a earthquake activity. It is my opinion that this earthquake activity qualifies as pre-activity for a fissure eruption in the area of Askja volcano. But if anything happens soon is a different question and it is impossible to predict for now. It is however sure that before such eruption the earthquake activity in this area needs to increase a lot more from the current levels of earthquake activity that are being seen today.
Currently no eruption is immanent in Askja volcano.
There is a interesting cluster of earthquakes north of Askja volcano. What is most interesting is the fact that this earthquakes are shallow This cluster of earthquakes is most interesting for the fact that it is shallow. The depth of the earthquakes is from 8.4 km and up to 0.1 km (~100 meters). This suggests that this is a dike intrusion is making. But appears to be growing slowly (a bit unclear at the moment however). But at this time it is impossible to know if this possible dike intrusion makes it too the surface or not.
History tells that it is not unclear for Askja volcano to erupt in small fissures. But that last happened in the Askja eruption in the year 1961.
Currently it is unclear what is going on north of Askja volcano. But this is for sure evolving into something in my opinion. But the question remains how long this is going to take. But this process has already been ongoing now for about 14 months and counting.
In the evening news in Rúv they tell about research (based on models) that suggest that it is going to be less chance of large airspace disruption like took place in Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in the year 2010. Reason for that is the fact that volcano ash from Katla volcano is normally not as small (less then 1 micron in size) as the volcano ash from Eyjafjallajökull volcano. But this small size of the early ash cloud allowed it too travel longer and hang up longer in the air then from more common ash clouds.
The reason for this is because of the fact that lava from Katla volcano are mostly basaltic and would create Hawaiian eruption if no glacier was on top of Katla volcano. Ash cloud from Surtseyan eruption is more heavy, as the volcano ash particles are larger and more heavy.
This might be a good news for the air travel industry in Europe when Katla volcano starts erupting. But this might create issues for the area closest to Iceland anyway. Depending on wind direction.
The Rúv news about this. Use Google translate at own risk.
Kötlugos hefði ekki sömu áhrif (Rúv.is)
There are interesting earthquakes about 20 km WSW of Laki. The locations of the earthquakes suggests strongly that they belong to Katla volcano fissure system. Last eruption in this area took place around the year 934. When the Eldgjá volcano canyon was formed. That eruption did destroy a older volcano canyon located in this same area (lava flows volcano ash did fill up that canyon far as I know).
The earthquakes that have been taking place in this area are small. The largest so far has the automatic size of ML1.2, but only ~4 earthquakes have been recorded so far. But what is most interesting about this earthquakes is the depth. The earthquakes that has the best automatic detection by the SIL system has the depth of 0.7 km. But that makes the depth of ~700 meters and that is a shallow earthquake. Given that this area has only fissures and no activate volcanoes. It is not unheard of in Iceland that a fissure eruption to start with no warning at all. Last time this did happen was in Gjálp eruption in the year 1996. Before that a dike intrusion into the bedrock did manage to get to the surface in Askja eruption in the year 1878, when a 25 km long volcano fissure did open up (small compared to Eldgjá eruption around the year 920).
I do not know what is going on in this area at the moment. As the activity so far has been too small to make any clear picture of it. But Katla volcano is a big volcano and it is not out of volcano league to make a new fissure eruption instead of the regular caldera eruptions under the glacier as Icelanders have gotten used to over the past 1000 years or so. Last time this did happen there are suggestions that there was a also a eruption at the same time in Katla volcano caldera. But that this has only been revealed during research over the past 50 years or so in this area.
I have also noted that there is a small increase in earthquakes inside Katla volcano caldera, not far from Austmannsbunga. But at this moment it is too early too know what it means for sure. There is no eruption is imminent in Katla volcano when this is written. Just too be clear on that fact.
The quiet scene that has been taking place in Iceland over the last two weeks is still ongoing and is now entering it’s third week. Over the last two week there have been less then 300 earthquakes during a single week. In Iceland that is quiet.
All volcanoes in Iceland have mostly been quiet. But there was a unconfirmed earthquake swarm in Grímsfjall volcano. But due to extremely bad weather it was not observed properly by the SIL network. North of Iceland there also has been a unconfirmed earthquake swarm. This earthquake swarm is somewhere north of Kolbeinsey volcano. But due to distance and bad weather it is unknown how big it was. But the largest earthquakes that have appeared on the SIL network did manage to go up to ML3.0 in size. But that is mostly a underestimate on the size of this event. But underestimate on a earthquake size happens when it is far from SIL network and not properly recorded due that.
When a eruption starts in Iceland. All media in Iceland covers it. Both in there news web sites and on the radio stations on the internet that publish information in english and other languages if needed. Here is a list of the main media stations in Iceland.
Rúv Rás 1 – Public radio station. Needs Windows Media Audio player to listen to this radio station. It is also possible to listen to Rás 1 over satellite on 1W.
Rúv Rás 2 – Public Radio station. Needs Windows Media Audio player to listen to this radio station. It is also possible to listen to Rás 2 over satellite on 1W.
Bylgjan FM 98,9 – A radio station with news. A flash might be needed to listen to this radio station.
Rúv Sjónvarpið – Can be watched on-line here. Both with flash player and Windows Media Video capable player. In Europe Rúv Sjónvarpið can also been watched over satellite on 1W if you have Conax access card to view the channel (only available in Iceland to Icelandic citizen living in Iceland, don’t ask me for it). But Teletext information is still available even if the channel is scrambled and cannot be viewed because of that.
Stöð 2 – Can be viewed on-line on the web-site Vísir.is. But at that web page only news can be viewed. Flash player is required to view it. Stöð 2 does not broadcast over satellite.
When a eruption starts in Iceland. This are the best options to get into touch with Icelandic media that broadcast live video or audio. But other news web sites are mbl.is, dv.is. But this are only news papers that don’t offer any direct and live coverage when a eruption starts in Iceland.
Tonight Rúv did have a news about the fissure that did open up in Þingvellir (Thingvellir) few weeks ago. Now scientists have started to explore this new fissure. So far they have measured that it is about 10 meters deep. It is still unclear how long it is. The current theory is that this new fissure started to open up after the Mw6.8 and Mw6.7 earthquakes in SISZ in the year 2000, or the Mw6.3 earthquake in the year 2008. But that is however unclear at this time.
What appears also to have happened is that ground water have cleaned out loose material in this new fissure. This might possibly have deepened the fissure. But this aspect of this new fissure is still a bit unclear one. But what is the most amazing thing is that the road has not started to collapse earlier then it did. Due how big this new fissure appears to be.
News on Rúv about this. Use Google translate at own risk, as Google does not know what Icelanders are saying.
Furðulegt að ekki hafi hrunið fyrr (Icelandic, video (Windows Media Video), picture, Rúv.is)
According to news on Rúv. The British government is starting a major research into the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The size of this research is big and the cost is around 3 million pound. The aim of this research is into how ash cloud behaves, how it spreads and to compare models to reality. This research might also aim to improve satellite detection of ash clouds. But it proved to be not quite reliable in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption that took place in the year 2010.
Icelandic news about this. I have not found any english news about this yet. Use Google translate like when you play the lottery. Hope for the best.
Viðamikil gosrannsókn (Rúv, Icelandic)
News in english about this. Thanks to Erik Klemetti how did point this out.
£530,000 to study Icelandic volcano (Press Release)
New Class of Ceramic Coatings Could Protect Jet Engines from Volcano Ash (Related press relase)
Post updated at 19:49 UTC on 22 April 2011.
Almannavarnir in Iceland did send out this warning earlier tonight. There is a heavy rain going over south of Iceland. This means that there is a risk of ash floods from south side of Eyjafjallajökull volcano. As that area is still covered in heavy ash after the last year eruption. People traveling in this area is advised to monitor the news or the website vegagerdin.is and vedur.is for more information. The area in the most risk of flooding is Þórsmörk and other rivers that come from Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The most heavy rain is forecast to start from 22:00 UTC and last until 12:00 UTC on 22 April 2011. But this forecast can change without any warning at all. So it is important to monitor the weather forecast for changes.
News about this in Icelandic. Use Google translate if you want to solve a puzzle.
Varað við vatnavöxtum undir Eyjafjallajökli (Icelandic, sunnlenska.is)
Varað við vatnavöxtum á Suðurlandi (Icelandic, Rúv)
Vara við úrkomu og vatnavöxtum (Icelandic, mbl.is)