Few earthquakes in Iceland, interesting events at Kverkfjöll volcano

Currently it is quiet in Iceland when it comes to earthquakes. It is also quiet in Icelandic volcanoes. As no volcano shows clear signs that is about to start erupting. But in this quiet period it is easy to miss the earthquake signs that appear in Icelandic volcanoes.

A volcano named Kverkfjöll has been showing increased signs of unrest over the past few years. So far the largest earthquake swarm took place few years ago. When a cluster of ML2.5 to ML3.5 earthquake took place in it. But since then it has been rather quite. But it is my opinion that Kverkfjöll volcano are on the path to a eruption. But so far it is unclear how and when it might take place. As Kverkfjöll volcano is continues to be a rather quiet volcano, even it is showing slightly higher activity then compared over the last few years. A better SIL network in this are accounts for some of the few earthquakes. But not all of them far as I can tell. In the last 48 hours there have been two earthquakes at rather uncommon place in Kverkfjöll volcano. Both events where small, less then mag 2.0 in size. But those events are part of a pattern that did start in Week 12 of 2011. But even it doesn’t look like a lot. There has been continues activity in Kverkfjöll volcano over the past few weeks and this activity appears to be continuing. I am going to write a better post about it later, when I have better picture of what is going on in Kverkfjöll volcano.

Last earthquake swarm that was in the larger size took place in October 2010. My review of it can be found here, Kverkfjöll volcano shows sign of activity (2010).

Other then this it remains quiet in Iceland. That is why I don’t have a lot too write about at the moment.

47 Replies to “Few earthquakes in Iceland, interesting events at Kverkfjöll volcano”

  1. Looks like the swarm has moved West to Húsafell and Skjaldbreið.
    It’s weird to watch these things. They don’t follow any pattern.

  2. A short swarm near Prestahnukur (large caldera in the west part of Langjökull glacier).

      1. So, what is the name of the large caldera in the west part of Langjökull glacier?

      2. Those are only large shield volcanoes, no caldera. (again, as far as I know)
        Could you point out what you are referring to?

      3. The current earthquakes took place outside the Langjokull calderas.. on another glacier/shield volcano. The Met Office shows in the Langjokull glacier 2 calderas.

      4. These circles indicate a central volcano, the circles with the inside-spikes are calderas, such as the Kerlingarfjöll calderas on the same map. Prestahnukur does not have a caldera. The only caldera located beneath Langjökull is the Hveravellir/Langjökull-volcano caldera. Which is small and almost completely covered by ice.

      5. So what is the name of the central volcano near the location of the quakes?

      6. That’s gotta be Prestahnukur! 😀
        But I think in this case it’s also hard to speak of a central volcano since this volcanic system has produced several small and larger shield volcanoes.

      7. Langjökull and Prestahnjúkar belong to the same geographic system even if Prestahnjúkar is not within the caldera.

      8. Geographic system? If you mean volcanic system, that is incorrect, Prestanuhkur is a volcanic system on it’s own.

  3. I knew there are very small earthquakes like a MW 0,1.
    But just now I saw this:
    20.04.2011 08:04:24 63.624 -19.627 0.6 km -0.4 99.0 9.3 km SW of Básar
    -0,4: how low can we go….

    1. those are low frequency quakes. the source is most likely an icefall somewhere on the glacier. when a piece of ice falls, then it causes those low frequency quakes that have a very small magnitude. (yes, -M quakes are possible, because its a logarythmic scale)

      1. Icequakes ususally have a really low quality score. Which is not true for the last earthquake under Eyjafjallajökull.

  4. Ya, the problem is I have all these holy virgins and no volcano to throw them into. I suspect that will change soon as the Gods are angry…thats obvious.

  5. RE: Nevada, USA Swarm of over 400 quakes

    I don’t know if any of you are following this story, so below are several links that point to the possibility of these quakes being magmatic given the presense of magma in these areas where the crust is thin. It just doesn’t seem to be letting up which may be the key.

    Anyone care to venture an opinion on the possiblity of these being magmatic, perhaps in concert the fault generated quakes?


    “A shallower depth would have the potential for greater damage to buildingsin the area,” Kent said. “The more information we have about this swarm, and more accurately know the magnitude and the depth, the better emergency services can prepare and respond. Given the occurrence of volcanic activity in the region during the past 10,000 years, seismologists will also be looking for signs of tremor in case there is a magmatic origin to this sequence. Evidence thus far points to a tectonic origin, but all scenarios must be investigated.”


      1. Plenty of volcanism there.


        Mostly Pleistocene stuff.

        Specifically, the Mud Springs Volcano is about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the center of the quake swarm. ( 38.342150°N 118.757179°W)

        “The probable late Pleistocene age Mud Springs volcano consists of a steep-fronted bulbous flow surrounding a depressed vent area, and a 7-kilometer-long ridged flow, together creating a remarkably distinctive landform. Although trees cover the flows, partially accounting for their dark color, the volcano is clearly one of the freshest in the Aurora-Bodie field. ”


      2. Note: It’s not a mud volcano, that’s just the name of the creak that runs past it. It’s rather impressive looking in Google Earth, but it’s a desert area and is not as new as it appears.

    1. http://i53.tinypic.com/2niwvu0.png

      The quakes are all next to… and seem to be associated with Walker Lane. Depth data in the area is pretty slim, though they have been moving seismic gear into the area to remedy that.

      If it is volcanic, it would likely be due to the ongoing (for several million years) extension and thinning of the crust. In this case, it appears that Walker Lane will eventually take on a greater role in the Pacific Plate – North American Plate motion. Right now it accommodates about 15 to 20% of the motion… the San Andreas handles the rest (along with it’s sisters, Elsinore, and San Jacinto, who assist with the stress down south)

      Then again… Nevada historically has swarms that go nowhere. It could just as well be that. With the significant error in the depths, and the lack of a good fine grain quake list… I can’t really say for sure or even offer much of a hunch. (Unlike Iceland’s primo data where you can get spoiled plotting that easily accessible stuff)

      I can say that the quake pattern is taking on a more wide spread pattern… which could just be the stress moving across the system, activating little used faults.

      Sorry for drifting off the focus of the board.

  6. Does anyone here know how it is best to find a apartment (and what it costs) in Köln ? I am looking for a way so that I don’t have too move to Iceland. But that is currently my activate plan and it set to go forward in about months time.

    I would rather not move to Iceland due to social and economical issues. I also don’t fit well into Iceland socially and that clearly has a effect on my writing. I am starting to discover that my self just now.

    1. Cologne is an expensive place
      Especially with smaller and older homes the rent increase was enormous. Here, the tenant pays 4.6 percent more rent than they were two years ago. What drives the rent including heating in the amount, are the ever-increasing costs. These have risen in the last ten years by 20 percent. Currently, many households need more than 40 percent of their income on their rent
      Average rent prices for apartments Cologne

      On the right you can see the individual popping transport links

      Cologne subway map sheets
      Cologne subway map rails
      Cologne subway map tours without stairs
      Cologne bus route map in 2011

      This helps you to find something outside of Cologne, a less expensive apartment

  7. Hi Jon,
    I live quite close to Cologne (120 km) and have a few friends there. I’ll ask them for a good website or way to find accomodation. But be warned: Köln is a beautiful and large city, hence the prices for rooms or flats are quite expensive.

    Don’t hesitate to drop me a mail if you have questions about living in Germany. I’m happy to help.

  8. While Cologne is a preferred city to live in. It is not my only options. Other options area Daun, a town of 10.000 people. Koblenz, a town of 107.000 people. There are also other towns between those sizes that are options for me.

    I can stay in Denmark for a little longer. That is no problem. But I need to figure this out soon, as I am due to leave Denmark in early June.

    I don’t properly understand german at the moment. That is a minor issue for me.

    Thanks for the help all. 🙂

  9. A M2.4 earthquake at 0.7km (99%) depth below grimsfjall! Some hours ago also a smaller one at 1.1km.. shall it finally go now :P!? Would be ” nice” ..


    1. I noticed that. Also, I’m probably overanalysing here, but if you look at the tremor measurements the most recent activity was a pixel-wide spike in the low frequency band. Added to the swarm there last week, this certainly appears a tad ominous.

      1. The spike was a result of a M6.6 earthquake near the Kermadec Islands. (Yes, that far away)
        It is visible at all the Icelandic tremor plots.
        It is a relatively large quake yes, but I doubt it is anything but just a minor part of the larger build that has been going on for that last 7 years.

      2. What’s more interesting is the fact that this earthquake has also caused a low-frequency spike. Which indicates that it’s caused by magma.

      3. It was the low-frequency spike to which I was referring. I assumed the higher-frequency spike was the weather and ignored it.

  10. Ah, the earthquake application on my phone has just informed me of the 6.1. That makes a lot of sense.

  11. Pieter et al:
    Sorry, but the 6.6 Kermadec earthquake took place on the 18th of April, not today.
    Am I missing something? 😉

    1. I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding about which low-frequency spike Lowri was talking about. I assumed it was the one on Monday, however he ment the recent one of the M6.1 Japan-earthquake.

  12. Please let me know if you feel that I have placed too many Amazon ads here. I have added Amazon France and Amazon Italy to the border line up.

  13. Lurking, the CA/NV USGS map looks pretty busy lately with a lot of quakes appearing now north of the garlock fault along the eastern sierra faults migrating up to that swarm in NV. If we were to watch a time lapse over the last year, we would see the last month as a swarm in these areas in and of itself. The border looks very busy too and in the Gulf of CA another 4+. I try not to “watch” geology, but….Im just saying….

    Remember last easter? 7.2

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