Magnitude 3,4 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano, earthquake swarm on eastern TFZ

This is just a short overview of activity in the last 24 hours (or so) in Iceland.

Bárðarbunga volcano

As usual Bárðarbunga volcano had an magnitude 3,4 earthquake this week. This time it only appears to have been just a one earthquake. Based on the signature of this earthquake, there is a good chance it was created by magma, rather than tectonic processes.

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

I expect this earthquake activity to continue for a while now.

Tjörnes Fracture Zone (TFZ)

A small earthquake swarm took place in eastern TFZ this morning. This was not a large earthquake swarm, with the largest earthquake having the magnitude 2,0. Around 40 or so earthquakes took place in this minor swarm.

The earthquake swarm on TFZ, close to the village of Kópasker. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

This earthquake swarm is over and I don’t think it is going to start again. Earthquake swarms like this one are common on TFZ.


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Grímsfjall volcano preparing for an eruption (also known as Grímsvötn)

On Wednesday 25-May-2016 a small earthquake swarm took place in Grímsfjall volcano (also known as Grímsvötn), none of the earthquakes that took place managed to reach the magnitude 1,0, many of the earthquakes where shallow and might be glacier movement, rather than actual earthquakes, but in I find it unlikely reason.

Earthquake activity in Grímsfjall volcano (red dots, blue dots). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Since 2011 Grímsfjall volcano has been preparing for an eruption. The eruption in 2011 was the largest one in 140 years at least (VEI=4). The average time between eruptions in Grímsfjall volcano around 5 to 7 years (based on known eruption history). How long it is going to take until Grímsfjall volcano is ready for a new eruption is impossible to know, the current data however suggests that next eruption might not be that many years away. GPS data and other interesting information can be found here.

What is going on in Bárðarbunga volcano – basic analyse

This the first analyse article that I’m going to write. It is going to a short one and not written over few days, as is the plan to have them in the future. The reason for this is that this information might get outdated quickly as things change in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is going to be broken down into few parts for clarity (if possible).

Current activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

Bárðarbunga volcano is preparing for a new eruption and has been doing so since March-2015, few days after the eruption ended in Holuhraun. Where this eruption is going to take place is impossible to know fore sure, but there are clues to what might happen (it doesn’t mean it is going to). Current earthquake activity pattern suggests that the next eruption is going to take place directly south of Bárðarbunga volcano, slightly south of the Holuhraun dyke formation. At that location there is a dyke formation that has been building up for the last few years and in recent months I’ve noticed a slight increase in activity around that dyke, it has been making branches from it self, creating small earthquakes swarms in the process. I don’t know how large this dyke is, but what is clear from earthquake data is that it is deep, goes down to at least 25 km depth, maybe deeper.

The cluster of orange dots is the dyke showing it self earlier today. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Since the activity started in Bárðarbunga volcano, this dyke has changed and appears to have started growing at some point (I don’t know when). Current size suggest that it is already large and contains large amount of magma. Amount is hard to estimate, but pure guess (short of educated) suggests that the amount of magma in this one dyke is already high and more might be at depth (25+ km depth). This one dyke has existed, or formed around 2005 – 2008 at earliest, it might have formed a good while ago, but this are the years I first saw it in the earthquake data. It is all over thick glacier (200 meters or more), so any eruption at that location would result in a glacier flood.

Eruptions risk at the moment

Currently Bárðarbunga volcano is in what I call “Active phase – not erupting”, meaning the volcano is not dormant (no activity at all). The risk of an eruption at the moment is in my view around moderate, nothing suggest that it is at high levels. That however is changing with each passing day and it is my view that one day there is going to be a earthquake swarm and activity that is going to start a new eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano and there is a good chance that eruption is going to take place under the glacier.

The caldera cauldrons (on the rim)

When the earthquake activity, connected with the dyke intrusion started in August-2014 and few eruptions under the glacier, few cauldrons formed in the glacier. Over the past few months those cauldrons have been getting larger and deeper, the glacier they are melting is up to 200 meters thick in this area (far as I know). The reason for this cauldron formation is the collapse (called slow collapse) of the Bárðarbunga volcano in 2014 – 2015 eruption. This suggests that magma has found a pathway to the shallow crust (5> km), but does not have the energy to start an eruption at the moment. This magma might never erupt at all, it might only create new hydrothermal areas in Bárðarbunga volcano. Paper on the collapse of Bárðarbunga volcano caldera can be found here, I don’t know how accurate or if this has been peer-reviewed article.

Earthquake depths

When something happens in Bárðarbunga volcano, like a strong earthquake swarm with magnitude 3,0 or larger earthquake taking place it sometimes has a activity taking place several hours before it. Here is how to spot it if it happens, it does not always take place for random reasons.

Small earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano, but notice the depth of 26,8 km. Screen-shot from Iceland Met Office website.

Depth is an important factor here, this earthquake took place at 26,8 km depth, suggesting that magma created it. That is not always the case, but it appears that this time it was. Since 12 hours later a magnitude 3,4 earthquake took place, meaning the pressure inside Bárðarbunga volcano changed (as I understand how this works).

The dyke earthquake swarm. All magnitudes are small, but depth is the interesting part. Screen-shot from Iceland Met Office website.

The dyke earthquake swarm has different pattern. As the magma pushes up the dyke from deep it creates earthquakes along the weak points in its structure, making the depth appear at random as earthquakes are formed. This also expands the dyke a little, low amount of earthquakes indicates that there is not much of a resistance in the dyke where it is expanding at the moment.


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Magnitude 4,4 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (20-May-2016) a magnitude 4,4 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is the strongest earthquake so far since the end of the eruption in February-2015. This earthquake swarm also had two magnitude 3,3 earthquakes. Other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.

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

Official statement from Iceland Met Office is that they are not sure what is going on. What is clear is that seismic energy being released from Bárðarbunga volcano has increased a lot since end of the eruption in February-2015 and current GPS data suggest rapid inflation. Both of are unusual after caldera collapse like Bárðarbunga volcano experienced in the 2014 – 2015 eruption. Due to lack of historical data it is hard to know for sure what is going on, whatever it is, it’s the first ever that is being monitored in great details.

Current events have not lead to an eruption so far. They however might do so in the future, when is difficult to know since the time frame of this development is unknown, it might be hours, it might be decades. Satellite images also show that cauldrons that have formed at the edge of the caldera are getting deeper and possibly larger, suggesting an increased hydrothermal energy at the locations where they have formed. This suggest that more magma is collecting at depth in the caldera, something as sad above is highly unusual due the recent caldera collapse in the last eruption. I’m expecting more earthquake swarms like this and growing magnitude of the earthquakes that take place. The weekly pattern is going to continue and I suspect it might increase soon, when is impossible to know for sure.


Please remember to support my work with donations (or by using Amazon). Currently my financial status is not so good (worse then what I was expecting). It will get better, just takes few months and I need to survive those months. Thanks for the help. 🙂

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga, Öræfajökull, Langjökull north volcanos

This is going to be a little compressed article. Since I’m currently in Iceland. I’ll be back in Denmark on 18-May. No GVP links now. I don’t think that my laptop can handle it (its slowly turning into non-functional computer).

Bárðarbunga volcano

The regular earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continues, it follows the same pattern has it has been doing for the last 7 – 8 months.

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

The largest earthquake had the magnitude of 3,2. Other earthquakes had smaller magnitude. This earthquake activity is like the earthquake activity before, there doesn’t seems to be a lot of difference between the earthquake swarms that are now taking place between weeks.

Öræfajökull volcano

There is a interesting earthquake activity taking place in Öræfajökull volcano. It suggest that some magma is entering the volcano at depth (5 – 10 km). At the moment there is nothing that suggests an eruption is getting close, however the eruption history of Öræfajökull volcano is not well known and no reliable data exists on what might happen in the case of eruption. At the moment, all of the earthquakes taking place are minor, suggesting the amount of magma entering Öræfajökull volcano is minor at the moment.

Langjökull (north)

Today (12-May-2016) an small earthquake swarm took place in north Langjökull volcano. This earthquake activity has been taking place in this area since the year 2000, it was started by the magnitude 6,5 earthquake in SISZ. The reason for this earthquake swarm are unclear. No change in the main volcano has been observed, both in terms of earthquake activity or other changes. One idea is that this are stress changes in faults at this area, suggesting they might be lateral faults, not connected to the volcano it self.

The earthquake activity in Langjökull north volcano (Hveravellir). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

None of the earthquakes that took place had strong magnitude, largest earthquake had the magnitude of 2,0.

New – Analyzing articles

I plan on to start writing analyzing articles about volcanoes in Iceland in order to attempt to explain what is going on with the most active one and what might happen. Those articles will take few days to write, that means I won’t write many of them each week if needed. This is also going to cover history of the volcano if that is possible. I am going to try and expand this website a little in order to bring in more readers.

Hardware support needed

Since I have to go the dentist when I go back to Denmark (sight). I can’t afford the hardware upgrade and maintaining my desktop computer (I got a failing hard drive). I also need hardware for setting up a second geophone computer in Denmark and a new Power supply for my main earthquake computer, it now running a 350W power-supply from a different computer, making it a little under powered.

Here is the list of hardware needed if anyone can help me with this.

1 500W power supply for my main earthquake computer (It has to be Intel six CPU pin power compatible).
1 1TB hard drive for my main desktop computer. The current hard drive is failing, its making clicking sounds, suggesting that its read head is about to fail.
1 1TB hard drive for my main earthquake computer. This for my main backup of all my data (earthquake data and other important data, images and so on). The second backup is on the internet. I so far haven’t been able to setup my third backup plan.
1 500GB to 1TB hard drive for my second geophone computer in Denmark.


1 Used laptop that is faster than 2,3Ghz and with more than 2GB ram. It can be used, it just has to work and be younger then 2010 model of laptop. It doesn’t have to have Windows installed on it. It does have to have a working hard drive.

Thanks for the support. 🙂

Earthquake swarm ~125 km north of Kolbeinsey Island


Please remember to support my work with donations. My main job in this writing is to convert hard to read data about earthquakes or volcanoes into human readable format. It might not sound like a lot, but it can be a time consuming work to read all the data in their raw format (if I have to) and figure out (or try doing so) what is going on at times. Thanks for the support.

Kolbeinsey earthquake swarm

This earthquake swarm started sometimes yesterday (09-May-2016) or last night (10-May-2016), the first earthquakes appeared on SIL network at 01:03 UTC. This area north of Kolbeinsey Island is located around 125 km north of it. It is thought that this area had an eruption in the last few years (I can’t find the exact year), but it was not confirmed far as I know. Mostly due the location far from the coastline. It is difficult to know for sure what is exactly going on at this location. Activity has been going up in past few months in this area.

The earthquake area north of Kolbeinsey Island. It is around 125 north of Kolbeinsey Island. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

This area is rather unknown, but some study has been done into it. I’m sure on the details. There is a possibility that activity is going to continue in this area for next few days. If an eruption takes place, nobody is going to notice it due to distance from nearest population center (~200 km).

Please remember to support my work (writing on this website)

Please remember to support my work with donations or by buying from Amazon. My work takes often several hours during the day and my social income is low by any standard. The month of may is also going to be costly for me for many reasons. One of them is that I lost my grandfather on 30 April and I’m going to attend his funeral in few days time. I won’t say when the funeral is going to take place, since that was not my grandfather wish (I don’t know the proper English word for this type of funeral).

I am also going to be in money problems in general until I get a job in Denmark, but I’m going to start my job search on Monday. I do hope that it goes quickly so that I can start to have better income than I currently do.

Thanks for the support. 🙂

New website

I am going to start a new website once I have the money to buy the domain. It is not going to be about volcanoes, it is going to be about technology, computers, satellite dishes, antennas and everything that I have interest in.

Plans about creating a company

I also have plans about creating a company. It is few years away until that becomes reality (2 to 4 years). I have however started the basic plans that have to take place until I create the company legally in Denmark (or Germany).

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano (Week 17)

After a short period of quiet, it seems that Bárðarbunga volcano has started again making earthquake swarms. The source of this activity is the same as before, inflation of Bárðarbunga volcano and infiltration of magma at shallow depth (that might not erupt).

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

Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 3,4. Other earthquakes in this swarm had smaller magnitude. The number of earthquakes in this swarm was typical, around 20-ish. Currently the activity has stopped, but it is going to start again in few days, as has been the pattern since end of the eruption in February 2015.

The magnitude 3,4 earthquake as it appeared on the vertical axes (Z) in Heklubyggð geophone. The signal is filtered at 2Hz. This image is under Creative Commons License. Please see CC License for more details.

Images of few of Iceland volcanoes

When I flew to Denmark on 14th of April the weather was mostly clear skies over Iceland. This allowed me to take pictures of few of the volcanoes in the flight path I was going. Due to constrains in WordPress I can’t show you the images here as I had hoped.

The images can be seen here. I’ll put up a special html page for them later on with text on what volcano you are seeing. Copyright of this images belongs to Jón Frímann Jónsson. They are free for personal use, but commercial use requires an license from me.