All quiet in Iceland

It’s been a while since I posted something here. The reason is simple. All this time nothing has happened in Iceland. It is has been quiet now since 21-January-2014 since the glacier flood took place. It appears that this quiet is set to continue for the time being. When it is going to end I do not know.

Quiet in Iceland at the moment. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

There was some deep earthquake activity on the Reykjanes Ridge during the week. The problem was it was or is poorly located. Most of the earthquakes also had less magnitude of 5,0. Earthquake swarms at this location do happen frequently, but do to location there isn’t much to tell about them.

Waiting for the eastern Skaftá glacier cauldron

The glacier flood in Skaftá glacier river is almost over or is over at present time (21-January-2014). This however does not mean that everything is over. Since there are two cauldrons in the Vatnajökull glacier in the Hamarinn volcano it means there is more water stored there now then has now flooded from the glacier. It is now clear that the eastern Skaftá glacier cauldron in Vatnajökull glacier has not emptied it self in this flood from the western Skaftá glacier cauldron.

The eastern (Eystri) and western (Vestari) cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

When the eastern glacier cauldron empties it self they are expecting a lot larger glacier flood to take place. Since there is a lot more water holding up in the eastern Skaftá glacier cauldron. It is also longer since it flooded and emptied it self. Last glacier flood from the eastern Skaftá glacier cauldron was in the year 2010. More information on how this flood system works can be found here (in Icelandic) on Icelandic university website geology department.

Glacier flood started in Skaftár glacier river

It was announced today (19-January-2014) that glacier flood has started in Skaftá glacier river (or connected rivers) from Skjaftár cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. Currently the water is discharging from Skaftár cauldrons at the rate of 370 m3/s according to Icelandic Meteorological Office. So far no changes have taken place in harmonic tremors close to Hamarinn volcano where the Skaftár cauldrons lie within Vatnajökull glacier.

Smell of hydrogen sulphide has been detected by people living close the rivers that the glacier flood is discharging into. There is a considerable risk of poisoning if people get to close the rivers that hold the flood water. It is currently believed that it is the western Skaftár cauldron that is now emptying, that one did empty it self back the in the year 2012. That is however not going to be confirmed until the area can be checked by flying over it and see what is taking place at this location. That might take few days since it is dependent on weather when it is possible to do such flight.

Location of Skaftár cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office. Picture is taken from Icelandic Meteorological Office Facebook page.

The current flood in Skaftár glacier river. The water monitoring stations around Vatnajökull glacier. Red stations are monitored for floods, black ones are normal flow stations. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office. Picture is taken from Icelandic Meteorological Office Facebook page.

Uncertainty level has been declared in the area do to this glacier flood by the Civil Protection and Emergency Management in Iceland. It is advised against people travelling in the area while this glacier flood takes place. On Vatnajökull glacier there is also a risk of new cracks forming in the glacier was the cauldron is emptied of water in the next few days. This cracks are dangerous and really deep and wide on the top, but get narrower closer to the end of them. It is possible to monitor the glacier flood here on Icelandic Meteorological Office website.

Icelandic news about this. Some English text is in some of the news. It is possible to use Google Translate on this, but result can be unreliable.

Skaftárhlaup er mjög líklega hafið (Rú, maps, English text)
Skaftárhlaup hafið en það vex óvenju hægt (Rú, Icelandic, maps)
Óvissustig vegna Skaftárhlaups (Rú, Icelandic, maps)

Skaftárhlaup er hafið (, English text)
Óvissustig vegna Skaftárhlaups (, Icelandic)
Fundað um næstu skref (, Icelandic)

Post updated at 20:34 UTC on 19-January-2014.

Increased conductivity continues in Múlakvísl glacier river (Katla volcano)

Last week I wrote about increased conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river that comes from Mýrdalsjökull glacier (Katla volcano). This trend has continued into second week with the conductivity. The conductivity in Múlakvísl is now on the range of ~327 to ~360 µS/cm. There has also been a slight increase in water levels following this change in Múlakvísl glacier river. Normal value for this time of year according to Icelandic Meteorological Office is ~180 µS/cm in Múlakvísl glacier river. Since 31-December-2013 the conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river has always been over 220 µS/cm.

Conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river. Top: conductivity. Middle: Harmonic tremor. Bottom: Windspeed. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Animated image from Icelandic Meteorological Office showing changes in Múlakvísl glacier river during this time period. Original image can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

No harmonic tremors or earthquakes have been detected (besides normal activity) following this changes. What is taking place is that a cauldron in Mýrdalsjökull glacier is now leaking melt water that has been built up due to hydrothermal (hot springs) activity under the glacier. So far it does not appear that current changes in Múlakvísl glacier river mean anything at all. If that is going to change is impossible to know at this point.

Icelandic News about this

Rafleiðni há en enginn órói mælist (

Donation notice: Please remember to support me so that I can continue to report on volcano and earthquake activity in Iceland.

Post updated at 19:09 UTC on 15-January-2014.
Post updated at 20:49 UTC on 15-January-2014.

Main geophone network computer is down due to a hardware failure

As many have noticed, my webicorder website is no longer updating and has not done so since 9-December-2013. The reason why it is not updating is simple. The computer that handles the updates is now totally ruined. It was the victim of the capacitor plague that took place few years ago, the main-board that failed is from the year 2007 (7 years old) and it clear that this issue with capacitor was not over when this motherboard was made.

The blown capacitors on the motherboard. As can be seen, it is totally ruined. Image is under Creative Commons Licence, please see CC Licence page for more details.

Second picture of the damage to the capacitors on the motherboard. Image is under Creative Commons Licence, please see CC Licence page for more details.

This failure was so bad it crashed my router and internet connection until I was able to reboot it when I got back home. Cost of a new computer (motherboard+cpu+graphic card+memory) is 268,16€ (350€ if I want to have some space to adjust if something isn’t available) according to my best estimate. I just want to buy and install it my self. I guess the hard drive is fine, but I have not yet tested it and I guess that I won’t test it until I get new computer. As my finances currently stand there is no hope that I am going to be able to afford this any time soon. So any donations in order to help me fix this problem are welcomed.

Without the webicorder website and this computer I am not going to be able to post high resolutions of earthquakes and it is not going to be possible to monitor earthquake swarms in Iceland in close to real time. Since this computer did handle all geophones in one place. It also uploaded the images for the geophones and I had on it the software to locate and analyse earthquakes that took place in Iceland and worldwide. This computer also allowed me to monitor for earthquakes in Denmark and other nearby countries if anything major did happen (earthquakes over magnitude 5,0). I hope that I can replace this hardware soon. Just how soon that is going to be I do not know at the moment.

About going advertisement free

I’ve been getting a lot of comment saying that I should not ask for donations to run this website. Many of the people who say this also say that I should just get a job to support my self and at the same time I should write on this website for free. I have explained it several times before, it is a lot of job to work on this website. Maybe its not a full time job while things are quiet in Iceland. But I do write other things too. I write short stories and put them on the internet for free. I also write about earthquakes in Canary Islands and Europe. I also write about space occasionally. Along with writing about Falkland Islands if I find something interesting to write about there (it’s a small place and is usually quiet).

That is a lot of writing and a lot of material that I am putting on the internet for “free” for people to read and enjoy. It is understandable that I want to get paid for my work. Who doesn’t want to get paid for it’s hard work. I surely do and a I am sure that the people who read this website want to get paid for there hard work in whatever field they work in.

It is also an interesting fact that since I am a low earner in terms of Google Adsense. I don’t get any support from them. If I want to be able to qualify for support from the Google Adsense support I have to earn equal to $20 (or a 109 DKK) a day for several weeks before I qualify for such support that is provided with an email. That is more traffic that I am ever going to see on my website between eruptions or earthquakes swarms in Iceland. It is my best guess that I am never going to reach such traffic levels any time soon. Just to hit the minimal payment threshold each month I have to have traffic of 30,000 page views per month. Something like that has not happened since the year 2011, after the activity in Katla volcano that summer. I have in fact no hope of making a decent living just by having advertisement income. As I did explain in earlier post about this matter. Going advertisement free also makes this site and my other websites easier to read it has less distractions from the advertisements. Overall it makes my website more friendly to people who read it and enjoy it. I also don’t risk having some advertisements that might not be so family friendly after all. It makes me happy to be free of advertisements for good and I am sure that many readers agree with me on that.

Putting up quality content on the internet costs a lot of time and money. This website and every website that I run costs money and time that is connected with working on them. It is true that I don’t spend equal time on the websites that I have, but traffic is not equal between those websites and that is the reason why I spend different amount of time on my websites. I have it as such that websites with more traffic gets updated more often. This website has always gotten the most traffic and for that reason I update it the most. Writing a article takes time, sometimes a really long time. Good example of this is this article here (I update it regularly also). Writing it took close to 9 hours, along with finding the sources and the information about the eruptions in questions. I have not written articles like this often mostly because it takes a long time and I feel that current activity should be watched more closely than historical activity. I do write this type of articles when needed, in connection with an eruption if I feel the need to do so. To explain why a volcano is like or to explain if it has done this in the past for instance. Looking for information, science papers (that often cost money that I don’t have) is a lot of work. I can spend hours just looking for such data, checking to see if it is any good for what I am writing about. So my work is not just writing about volcanoes, it is also checking the information that is available, historical data, studies into the volcano or the earthquake swarm in question to see if this has happened before in historical times.

Most of my work so far has been not paid, in fact I have been volunteering with my self when since I started working on this website. That also explains why I am broke all the time almost every month of the year. I don’t get the income to pay my self a salary for my work. It has been like this since I created this website. I do sometimes get a large donations, but they however often do not mount to nothing more than just one month worth of income and only last me that long. I am always thankful for such donations. They do help, but I need something more stable in the terms of income from this website and my other websites that I run. I cannot continue to live this, being always broke and having to worry if I can buy food this month or not. As is my current status and has been for the past year for me. I do not plan to change this website to subscription website. Since it is my believe that science needs to be available to all. That however does not make it free to publish and running it. Since nothing is free in reality.

I do get income from social welfare in Iceland. But that income is low and I am not even making by with that income since bills and debts needs to be paid. The sad fact is that social welfare is nothing but a poverty trap for people in Iceland that can’t work or are disabled in some way. It has gone so bad now that many people on social welfare in Iceland now cannot buy there medicine or go to the doctors in Iceland. I am on so low income that once I have paid all my bills I often barley have money for food or if something comes up I don’t have money for it.

I have a passion for earthquakes and volcanoes. I also have passion for writing, so I love to write about earthquakes, volcanoes and other geology phenomena out there. But I just can’t keep doing it for free. The world simply does not work like that for any of us. We all get paid for our work regardless what we do. So I find it is not far of some people demanding that I just get a day job and at the same time keep updating this website the same way as I do now. The reason why I did start this website was to keep people informed about what is happening in Icelandic geology as it happens. This was just one year after the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Since information about geological activity in Iceland is most of the time not easy to find in English and people often do not know what is taking place when earthquake swarm happens or a volcano in Iceland makes a noise.

I also want to ask people who say to me “just get a job”, not to say that. It is quite insulting to my work here. As I did explain here above, writing is a lot of work and that is not going to change. I also came across this comment here (Ars Technica article) about the same thing and I agree with the point this comment is making. I’ve been told on several occasions just to get a job in order to keep this website alive. As explained above that would not work. Since it is a lot of work to keep this website up and running and properly updated, same for the other websites if something interesting happens. The Paypal donation button is back, I found an answer ( that tells me that I can use it without any issue.

If you like my website. Please remember to support it so that I can keep working on it. Thanks.

Update 1:
If people want to check Google Adsense policies they can do so here. What they are going to find is that Google Adsense policies are quite strict and hard to comply with.

More reading about world without on-line advertisements

The end of the free lunch—again (The Economist)
Pay Me for My Content (New York Times)
Clive Thompson on the Problem With Online Ads (Wired)

Update on this post

Please see here why I am no longer advertisement free (for the moment at least).

Post updated at 16:20 UTC on 15-Januar-2014.
Post updated at 18:58 UTC on 19-March-2014.

Two earthquakes on the Reykjanes ridge on 10-January-2014

I am sorry for this late post of this events. I have been having computer problems and more then just one computer problem. More on that in next post.

On the Friday the 10-January-2014 three earthquakes took place on the Reykjanes Ridge. There magnitudes where 3,1 and 3,5. The third earthquake had the magnitude of 2,5.

The earthquakes on the Reykjanes ridge on the 10-January-2014. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

This where tectonic earthquakes and nothing suggests that they where connected to any magma movements in this area of the Reykjanes ridge.

Increased conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river

Donation notice: If you like my work. Please consider donating to help me continue my work. This site is now advertisement free as explained here. Donation button is going to be added soon. If you want to donate regularly, please use the Paypal button on the sidebar to do so. Information on how to donate to me with other ways can be found here. Thanks!

It has been reported in Icelandic media today that there is an increased conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river that comes from Mýdalsjökull glacier. This increased conductivity started in Múlakvísl on 31-December-2013 and has lasted until today (it might last for few days longer).

Mýrdalsjökull glacier is on top of Katla volcano. There are no signs of increased activity following this and according to the news this is most likely a cauldron under the glacier empting it self of water melted by hydrothermal area under the glacier. So far there is no risk to this increased conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river.

There are no signs of glacier flood is about to take place, at least it is not going to a large one if it happens. That is the current idea at the moment anyway. No earthquake activity or tremor activity has taken place following this changes in Múlakvísl glacier river.

Icelandic News about this

Aukin rafleiðni en ekki útlit fyrir hlaup (Rú
Fylgjast vel með Múlakvísl (
Vaxandi rafleiðni í Múlakvísl (Ví

Magnitude 3,5 earthquake on the Reykjanes peninsula

Donation notice: This site is now advertisement free as explained here. So that now I ask instead for donations to keep this site up and running. See here for details how to support my work. Thanks for the support.

Today (7-January-2014) at 12:11 UTC an magnitude 3,5 earthquake took place on the Reykjanes Peninsula. This earthquake was part of an swarm that has been taking place in this area of Reykjanes peninsula for past two weeks.

The earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

I am not sure how this earthquake swarm is going to evolve, but there is a risk of more earthquakes in this area. But most of them are going to be minor, or less then 3,0 in magnitude.

Earthquake swarm in Hveravellir

During the night of 6-January-2014 an earthquake swarm started in Langjökull volcano, the northern one. The nearby area is known as Hveravellir geothermal area. So far this has just been a minor earthquake swarm. With largest earthquakes not exceeding magnitude 2,0 at the moment.

The earthquake swarm in Hveravellir geothermal area. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

The tremor plot of nearby SIL station shows that more earthquake activity is taking place then appears on Icelandic Meteorological Office website. This are then earthquake that are too small to be detected by other nearby SIL stations.

The earthquake activity at Hveravellir SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

I do expect this earthquake activity to continue for some time now. It is impossible to know for sure if this activity is going to increase or not.