Fresh earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (04-Januar-2016) a fresh earthquake activity took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. The largest earthquake had the magnitude of 3,3 and the smaller earthquake had a magnitude of 3,2. Other earthquakes in this earthquake swarm where smaller in magnitude.

The earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano. Green stars show the magnitude 3,3 and 3,2 earthquakes. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Deepest earthquake yesterday (03-January-2016) had the magnitude of 2,6 and depth of 21,5 km. Current earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano has been connected to a inflation that is now taking place where the earthquakes are taking place. According to Kristín Jónsdóttir on Rúv News earlier today. It appears at least one magma chamber on 10 to 15 km depth inside Bárðarbunga volcano is filling up and that might result in an eruption in coming months. Where and when is impossible to know at this point in time.

Icelandic News

Kvikusöfnun skýri skjálftavirkni í Bárðarbungu (Rú, Icelandic)

Update 1

New earthquake with the magnitude of 3,0 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano at 01:24 UTC on 05-January-2016. The earthquakes that have been taking place have been low period earthquakes based on the fact they are not recording properly with the SIL network (tectonic earthquakes almost always have correct magnitude).

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

This is a sharp increase in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Currently nothing suggests that eruption is about to start, due to lack of continuous earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake activity however suggests that magma pressure is increasing fast in a magma chamber that is located in north-east part of Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. When it might erupt is a question that does not have any clear answers at the moment. At the moment the only thing that can be done is to wait and see what happens next.

Article updated on 05-January-2016 at 11:41 UTC.

32 Replies to “Fresh earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano”

  1. The Bardabunga system again is one of the most complicated Icelandic systems. Who knows though what part of the system is going to flare up next though. Imagine being a volcanolagist trying to figure out what shall happen next.

    One of the scientist who visits Askja volcano in an email to me today replied by saying that she hasn’t visited the site to make new measurements in a couple of years. She did mention the landslide that occured in the caldera.

  2. It seems hard to predict these things before when it is very near to take place. If the model would be so easy that it is only a chamber with known size that fills up and the empties it would be easy to tell when an eruption will occur. But it is complex systems that interact and plates that moves with unknown dimensions. There is no mathematical function for an eruption where you can put in known values. And one can not make “x-rays” of the system so we have to intelligent guessing with the knowledge of the experts. Small man.

    1. Type these words into google

      continuous gravity monitoring around an active volcano

      and you will find a method for watching magma movement. OK, not quite an x-ray. Would be good to see such a monitoring system around Bárðarbunga volcano, but unfortunatly such a system would be very expensive.

      1. Thanks. Very intresting. I guess these systems is easier to motivate on Vesuvius than in a largely unpopulated part of Iceland.

      2. Some work was done on Askja in 2008ff using these methods, but I don’t know if more has been done since.

  3. Tuesday
    05.01.2016 01:24:34 64.671 -17.460 4.4 km 3.0 99.0 4.7 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  4. Are the tremors that are showing up in Holuhraun in almost every post from the rocks cooling after the eruption, or is something else going on there?

  5. The shallow evolved magma “chamber” never emptied,probably went thru a period of consolidation and is stirring again.

  6. It’s a good thing to differentiate between a magma chamber and a magma reservoir feeding the chamber(s). The model presented in the following link predicts at least three reserovoirs for Krafla, a relative small shallow one at depht less than 10km, a second with a volume 5 times greater than the upper one at depht > 20 km and a third one at undetermined depht with immense volume.

    My point for discussion is could this reservoir III be the same feeder for BB tube system and if so, why not 🙂

  7. Belated season greetings and thank you, Jon, for your ever persistent great job with the blog.

    I was wondering about the Búrfell strainmeter. It shows a significant drop over the last hours, and the graph line is rather thick at this point – which I believe might show on some unrest? What do you think; is this something worth noting or keeping an eye on?

    (Image is property of IMO)

    1. This is due to a storm south of Iceland. Drop in air pressure. That is why you should always look at the corrected strain data, where it’s corrected for atmosphere noise.

      1. Okay, thank you! Troll winds again. Then I can stop thinking about this and go to bed. Where to find corrected strain data, by the way?

  8. Jon I see there have been a couple of quakes in the Askja area is this anything to be concerned about?

    1. Not at Askja volcano, for now at least. This is normal earthquake activity at the moment, Askja volcano is preparing for an eruption. When it might happen is impossible to say, but I’m estimating few years at the moment.

  9. More from Bardy : Sunday IMO reports 10.01.2016 05:18:27 64.619 -17.409
    1.4 km 3.2 99.0 6.1 km ESE of Bárðarbunga
    Just when it looked like all was going quiet!

  10. Two stars, not sure what under the one to the South East of Bard (i know it’s near Hamarinn).

  11. I’ll write a article about this activity later today. I’m waiting for the earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano to appear again on IMO maps.

    1. Ok the single spike after the 3 pm quake I meant for you to look at. The 2.1 qauke is now downgraded to a 1.7

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