Earthquakes north of Kolbeinsey Island

Today (16-March-2016) there was an earthquake swarm around 110 km north of Kolbeinsey Island. At this location there are no registered or known volcanoes, there however might be one, but it is difficult to confirm. This earthquake activity however appears to be related to an rift valley that is at this location, rather then any volcano activity.

The earthquake activity around 110 km north of Kolbeinsey Island. Green star shows the location of the largest earthquake. One magnitude 3,0 earthquake was deep on the Reykjanes Ridge (green star). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 3,1. That magnitude is possibly an underestimate of magnitude due to distance from the SIL network. Other earthquakes have been smaller, but one earthquake had the magnitude of 2,9. That earthquake might have had a magnitude above 3,0 in reality. I suspect more earthquake activity has taken place without being detected by the SIL network.


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Deep earthquakes in Askja volcano (15-March-2016)

Yesterday (15-March-2016) an earthquake swarm took place in Askja volcano. This was an deep earthquake swarm, with deepest earthquake having the depth of 18,7 km and the shallowest earthquake with the depth of 14,9 km. The earthquake swarm took place inside the volcano and there are clues that suggest it has it’s origin. This has been happening regularly since 2010 and after the Bárðarbunga volcano dyke getting close to the main magma chamber in Askja volcano the activity has slowly been increasing. This activity is not above background levels and nothing suggests that an eruption is about to happen any time soon.

Askja volcano is located to the north-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

For the moment the progress and the change in Askja volcano is slow, but that might change if the magma inside the system finds a pathway to the surface. If an eruption does happen I’m not expecting anything big, just a lava eruption that is going to go on for few days to weeks. Unless the magma gets into contact with water, creating a short term explosions. This is only a speculation, but Askja volcano is an active system and as such anything should be expected from it.