Deep earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga and Öræfajökull volcano

Today (28-March-2015) there has been deep earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. This suggest that there is a fresh injection of magma into Bárðarbunga volcano system. If this is going to result in new eruption remains to be seen. It is not impossible at current time to happen. So far however nothing has happened. Deepest earthquake had depth of 21,1 km, others earthquakes are shallower.

Earthquake activity in Vatnajökull glacier today. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Öræfajökull volcano

Today (28-March-2015) there has also been deep earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano [Wikipedia link here]. This activity is not new and has been taking place every few months for the past 10 years or so. Quiet times are different in length. Each earthquake swarm that takes place is different in both magnitude and length, current activity appears to be deep, but mostly small earthquakes, less then magnitude 1,5 for most part. Deepest earthquake in this swarm had the depth of 25,0 km. This earthquake activity is only due to fresh magma entering Öræfajökull volcano system, not tectonic activity in this area due the depth of the earthquakes are taking place.

Based on historical accounts of earlier eruptions (1362 and 1728). It appears that eruptions in Öræfajökull start with powerful earthquake swarm (magnitude 4,0+ earthquakes). The following eruption is an ash cloud one with glacier floods taking place, with that phase lasting up to 48 hours. What happens after that is unclear, since it was not documented properly by historical records (at least not properly mentioned or lost due the old age of the historical records in question). Eruptions can last for up to 45 days, based on earlier documented eruptions. Current earthquake swarm is inside Öræfajökull volcano, since it is not round volcano, but goes a little to north where the earthquake swarm is taking place. There is no fissure swarm connected with Öræfajökull volcano, it does not rule out that one exist, it is at least not known at the moment. At the moment there are no clear sign that there is increased eruption risk from Öræfajökull volcano. That might change without warning, as is always the risk with volcanoes.

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