Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

Last night (20-December-2015) a earthquake activity took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. Largest earthquake in this short earthquake swarm had the magnitude of 3,5 and the second largest earthquake had the magnitude of 3,1. This earthquake activity is shallow and above above 10 km depth and it appears to be result of magma activity in north-eastern part of Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. The earthquakes that took place appear to be long period volcano earthquakes (details can be found here, under b-type earthquake).

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

There clearly is something going on in Bárðarbunga volcano, it is already known that inflation is taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano after the eruption in Holuhraun ended in February-2015. Along with increase in dyke intrusions this clearly suggest that magma pressure is increasing inside Bárðarbunga volcano. What worries me is not the risk of large eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano. The risk in my view is at the moment risk of small eruption taking place, if a small eruption takes place under a glacier it is going to mean glacier flood. Size depends on the eruption size, duration and other factors. Currently there are no signs of imminent eruption, but that might change without warning. The north-eastern part of the Bárðarbunga volcano caldera is in my view weakened structure due to all the earthquake activity for the past 15 (about) months.


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