No eruption starting in Hamarinn volcano

There seems to be a minor eruption starting in Hamarinn volcano (might be part of Bárðarbunga volcano). Given the current tremor signature on Skrokkalda SIL station.

The start of a harmonic tremor spike on Skrokkalda SIL station. Most likley from Hamarinn volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

For the moment I do not know if this is going to remain a small eruption or might evolve to larger eruption. That is going to come clear in next several hours. But for the moment this is starting and glacier flood is to be expected in several hours. There is no danger to humans or humans structures I think.

Update 1: Darn! False alarm!

This is how the tremor plot did look after one update.

The tremor spike just changed into regular earthquake so to speak. So this is nothing but false alarm. It happens. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Blog post updated at 09:59 UTC on 27. September 2011.

80 Replies to “No eruption starting in Hamarinn volcano”

  1. This was an false alarm in regards to a possible eruption. But this might have been a harmonic tremor spike. But it hard to be sure on that.

    I am sorry for this mistake that I made here.

  2. Looks like there was only that spike and the tremors are starting to go back to background levels. Or am I reading the chart wrong?

  3. Good morning all

    Jon please never feel the need to apologise to us – your work is amazing and we are all very grateful for the time and effort you put in!

    The link below has not been updated for nearly a week now! Carl said it required manual input. Can we assume that this information is no longer available to us? Or is it likely to be some form of equipment failure?

    1. To my untrained eye, it seems as if most of the quakes until recently have been layering in vertical sheets along a rough line north of the island up into El Golfo bay. The recent increasing depth quakes have trended from that location around the east of the cluster and the previous cinder cones in what looks like a semi-horizontal sheet dipping to the east and them moving southward.

      The vertical sheets are likely dike formation, semi-the horizontal sheet that dips to the east and south is likely following the strata of previous (millions of years old) deposits.

      If it keeps swelling and the infill can make it to the surface, then there will be an eruption. Until then, dunno.

      It will go when it’s ready, and not a moment sooner.

    1. Correct me if i’m wrong, but the vulcanos’ name is El Golfo but the island is named el Hierro – is this correct?

      1. Below is GVP explanation of El Hierro vs El Golfo!

        The triangular island of Hierro is the SW-most and least studied of the Canary Islands. The massive Hierro shield volcano is truncated by a large NW-facing escarpment formed as a result of gravitational collapse of El Golfo volcano about 130,000 years ago. The steep-sided 1500-m-high scarp towers above a low lava platform bordering 12-km-wide El Golfo Bay, and three other large submarine landslide deposits occur to the SW and SE. Three prominent rifts oriented NW, NE, and south at 120 degree angles form prominent topographic ridges. The subaerial portion of the volcano consists of flat-lying Quaternary basaltic and trachybasaltic lava flows and tuffs capped by numerous young cinder cones and lava flows. Holocene cones and flows are found both on the outer flanks and in the El Golfo depression. Hierro contains the greatest concentration of young vents in the Canary Islands. Uncertainty surrounds the report of an historical eruption in 1793.

      2. El Golfo is the name of the volcanic structure of which only remnants are left, El Hierro is the name of the volcanic system and the island.

    2. As long the earthquakes are on the same depth, there is nothing to worry about (unless the earthquakes gets really strong and start to break stuff). When the earthquakes start to go upwards then there is an good reason to worry. As that means that the magma is on the move up to the surface. It might stop on the way however.

  4. Actualidad Volcánica de Canarias (AVCAN)
    En el gráfico de profundidades de los sismos respecto a los últimos 10 dias se puede ver algo que ayer llegando la medianoche, la zona de actividad tuvo un pico hacia arriba hasta los 7km, con una banda de actividad perfectamente visible. Hoy en cambio, el sistema focaliza su actvidad entre los 12 y los 16 km y que los más fuertes están abajo.

  5. Power is back. But I am still offline as the main internet connection is not yet back up and my main computer is still down due to power supply problems (it is old and not working so good).

    1. What do you mean? This white thing which is formed like a mushroom (kind of) in the middle of the image? Thats the Gígjökull glacier. Otherwise I just see very bad weather.

      1. I can assure you that it wasn’t the glacier or the shaking of the cam that made me see what I did. I’ve been watching that cam a lot during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

        Now when I look it’s just a mess so let’s wait with the verdict til the weather gets better.

      1. Yes, it’s bad weather. But once in a while Eyjafjallajokull steams a bit, and sometimes quite a bit. But that is happening more and more rare as time goes by. To be sure about steaming, you can travel to the bottom of the volcano and see if any steam is coming out from the crater when the rest of the sky is fully clear. Last time I saw this was about 3 months ago. Haven’t see it since then.

    1. I can see why you thought it looked like steam, coming from a central point, but no, I think it is ice.

      1. And if it’s steaming it’s normal, and not an indicative of any activity!

        You will see it steaming when the cold, calm and clear weather comes in Iceland during winter. Unless the temperature there has already decreased a lot.

  6. Tremor plts at Grimsfjall and Godabunga are looking interesting – as are a few others… but less so. IMO does not show high winds anywhere… so something may be up somewhere. I look forward to your post Jon

    1. Jules:
      If you look at Jón’s helicorder, you will see that winds have picked up a lot.
      With the winds come the sea waves, and then tremors rise.

    2. Weather is bad here. Lots and lots of rain, and some wind. So I guess it is probably windy at the sea.

  7. Actualidad Volcánica de Canarias (AVCAN)
    ‎1099600 27/09/2011 15:44:14 27.6782 -18.0783 17 Sentido 3.8 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI (Enrique)

  8. Hraun SIL (hrn) is back online, anyone have a clue vhy kri station is still way above scale?

  9. EQ Swarm on El Hierro
    1099624 27/09/2011 16:07:16 27.6640 -18.0683 18 2.4 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI [+]
    1099623 27/09/2011 16:06:54 27.6862 -18.1025 18 2.1 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI [+]
    1099622 27/09/2011 16:06:23 27.6637 -18.0737 17 2.1 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI [+]
    1099621 27/09/2011 16:05:30 27.6613 -18.0743 15 1.9 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI [+]
    1099619 27/09/2011 16:04:22 27.6271 -18.0605 11 2.6 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI [+]

  10. I think that the magma in El Hierro has found a outlet to go up to. But earthquakes have started to get shallower in the past few hours it seems. But most of them are still on 17 to 11 km depth.

    But the magma is clearly on the move there.

    1. Maybe between a couple of days to a couple of weeks, to a likely eruption in the El Hierro volcano. But that is my guess, and magma sometimes cools down and “decides” not to erupt. You can never be sure.

  11. An easy mistake to make.

    Shows that the job of having to give warning of an imminent eruption can’t be easy, but best to be safe rather than sorry.

  12. And now a new swarm at Hengill, certainly man-made from more pumping at the geothermal plant.

    1. Its a bit late in the day isnt it to be pumping water at this time? It started at @ 6 pm ish there – but perhpas they have decided to do this overnight?

  13. Hi, I’m a lurker.
    One thing I observe is that most of Iceland’s volcanoes/geologic active areas seems to be triggered at the same time regarding the amount of earthquakes. Could this mean there is a common pressure chamber deep below which spread out to most of the active volcanic areas of Iceland? Any thoughts about this?

    1. There is a possible plume of magma underneath Iceland. But according to scientists this plume is only about 150km wide. So, it is centered close to Bardarbunga and Grimsvotn and in theory can affect Askja to the north, Oraefajokull to the south, and Katla, Eyjafjallajokull, the dead zone and Hekla to the west, at its edge. But it shouldn’t reach towards Reykjanes, unless magma could find a way there at big depths.

      I think this plume is what explain the enhanced volcanism in Iceland compared to the rest of the Atlantic ridge.

      And this plume has a postulated (not fully confirmed) cycle of increased volcanic activity about every 120-170 years. When this peak is reached, there are more eruptions in Iceland and stronger, especially under Vatnajokull. The next peak is somewhere within the next decades. But this is not fully understood.

      1. And, in my opinion, I think we are reaching that peak and seeing the increased volcanic activity (such as the last eruption of Grimsvotn)

        If this is true (and I might be wrong), there will be more strong eruptions under Vatnajokull, likely at Bardarbunga and Kverfjoll, and even possible at Oraefajokull.

      2. Irpsit, thanks for a well formulated answer, and now I have far more insight on this.

        Have a good day and take care.

  14. Giggle Trans, AVCAN 13 mins ago:
    “About 300 people living in several villages in the municipality of La Frontera, on the island of El Hierro, will be evacuated this evening at the risk of occurrence of landslides by seismic zone is recorded.

    The Canary Islands government has taken this decision to the expectations of the scientific teams that indicate that earthquakes are occurring on the island, more than 8,000 since July, will increase in intensity and frequency from this midnight, though the traffic light volcanic risk level is still yellow and not expect an imminent eruption.

    Civil Protection services have also decided, as a precaution, close to traffic tunnels Roquille, and suspend the activity in the schools of the municipality.”

    The cumulative energy graph ( has increased dramatically. Also 4 lots of 3.0+ mag in last two hours

    1. “The government evacuated 300 people tonight Border risk of landslides
      Press Release Tuesday, September 27, 2011 20:51

      Schools are closed in the municipality as a preventive measure

      El Cabildo de El Hierro decides to close the tunnel from Los Roquille 23 hours until further notice

      The Canary Islands government, given the risk of falls associated with volcanic seismic activity of El Hierro, and following the recommendations of scientists in the National Geographic Institute (IGN), which provides an increase in the intensity and frequency of seismic events from midnight will proceed to the preventive evacuation of some homes in the areas of Las Puntas, Sabin Risco Pie, Well of Health and Guinea, in the town of Frontera.

      The number of people estimated to displace Valverde school residence and military headquarters in La Caleta Anatolian sources, will be approximately 300 people.

      Also, the Cabildo de El Hierro will close the tunnel from Los Roquille at 11 tonight until further notice

      As an additional measure, the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Security has moved to the Ministry of Education, Environment and Sustainability, the need to close schools in the municipality, if there were landslides affecting roads.

      The Canary Islands government wants to send a message of peace and remind people that we are in yellow light, as was established on 23 September, and are not expected an imminent eruption.

      The sequence of earthquakes may increase the frequency and intensity so that the citizens should also take into account the following recommendations:…”

  15. The magma is now on the way up in El Hierro. But the depth has now reached 10 km. But it depends on the rock and speed of the magma when it reaches the surface. But I am over 60% sure now that a eruption is going to start soon in El Hierro volcano.

    1. I agree. I think an eruption at El Hierro could start between tomorrow and end of the week. Let’s see whether the earthquakes will become more shallow.

      1. 1099846 28/09/2011 05:00:59 27.6775 -18.0608 15 3.3 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI
        1099850 28/09/2011 04:14:58 27.6634 -18.0702 14 2.8 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI
        1099847 28/09/2011 04:07:14 27.6745 -18.0698 17 3.0 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI

  16. A considerable earthquake swarm is happening at Hengill.

    If it was triggered by manmade activity, that was during the afternoon, because at this moment it is night. So, this shows how the drilling is triggering earthquakes at least hours ago.

    But biggest earthquakes are around 2.1

  17. El Hierro The government evacuated 300 people tonight in Frontiera – risk of landslides.
    Due to activity El Hierro they decided to close the tunnel from Los Roquille until further notice.

  18. And another +3 event:

    1099965 28/09/2011 09:47:39 27.6668 -18.0781 15 Sentido 3.3 mbLg SW FRONTERA.IHI

  19. Actualidad Volcánica de Canarias (AVCAN)
    Epicentro promedio ponderando en función de la energía liberada de los eventos sísmicos ocurridos desde el día 20 al 28 de septiembre (exclusivamente). Se observa que tal “epicentro ponderado” se sitúa ahora en el mar, más al sur del Julán, con respecto a los anteriores “epicentros ponderados” presentados. Por otra parte se presentan los hipocentros respecto a un “El Hierro virtual” situado a 30 Km de altitud. (20-28 de septiembre)

  20. Actualidad Volcánica de Canarias (AVCAN)
    En opinión, de Joan Martí, todo apunta a que el proceso se está acelerando, y por eso considera que los dos próximos días serán determinantes para saber si habrá erupción o no y de qué tipo.

    “La sismicidad es muy continuada pero se registra a una profundidad muy grande, entre 12 y 14 kilómetros de la superficie. A esa profundidad hay magma, roca fundida, pero que no asciende. En el momento que este magma subiera metros, habría que estar más pendiente”, añadió.

    Joan Martí también descartó que se produzca un gran terremoto o un tsunami si finalmente hay erupción volcánica, ya que “la sismicidad no está afectando al mar”.

    El hierro. “los dos próximos días serán críticos”, según el vulcanólogo joan martí –
    MADRID, 28 (SERVIMEDIA)’Los dos próximos días serán críticos en El Hierro para saber que ocurrirá, si la situación de pequeños terremotos se prolonga durante meses o estos cesan’, según declaró hoy a Servimedia Joan Martí, profesor de investigación, especialista en vulcanología, del Consejo Superior…..

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