Earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (30-August-2016) an earthquake swarm started in Bárðarbunga volcano. The earthquake swarm took place in the caldera of Bárðarbunga volcano, as has been the case for the past few months. Nothing suggests that magma is on the move or that eruption is imminent, this seems to be tectonic or tectonic related activity in Bárðarbunga volcano after the eruption in 2014, that ended in February 2015.

The earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano. Green stars are earthquakes larger then magnitude 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Largest earthquakes so far have the magnitude of 3,8 (at 13:33 UTC) and 3,4 (at 16:58 UTC), other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude. The reason for this earthquakes is inflow of magma at depth (more than 10 km) into Bárðarbunga volcano. This is creating stress changes higher up in the crust, resulting in earthquake swarms. More earthquakes can be expected from Bárðarbunga volcano in next few hours to days. This type of earthquake activity almost happens weekly at the moment and that has been the activity pattern since September-2015. I’m not expecting any change in this activity pattern for next few months.

50 Replies to “Earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano”

  1. Great update thanks Jon.
    Seems like the whole Icelandic rift is rumbling right now is there any measurement changes between the plates at this time or is this all in preparation for something in the way of a larger riftal change rather than a single volcanic indecent?

  2. IMO has a different opinion

    Seismologist Martin Hensch at the Icelandic Met Office told that between ten and 15 aftershocks followed the quake. He stated this is likely a case of movements in the edge of the caldera but not movements of magma.

    1. If Magam moved, then why is there no earthquake at a depth of 10-30 km? All only at shallow depths? I think, the Caldera Kolaps goes on.

      1. Those where yesterday (Monday 30-August-2016).

        29.08.2016 01:18:29 64,587 -17,203 18,5 km 0,9 99,0 16,5 km ASA af Bárðarbungu
        29.08.2016 01:18:25 64,588 -17,208 17,5 km 0,7 99,0 16,3 km ASA af Bárðarbungu
        29.08.2016 01:18:06 64,593 -17,191 17,6 km 0,4 99,0 16,9 km ASA af Bárðarbungu

        Depth was around 18 km.

  3. Yes, quite isolated. And the whole shallow quakes can not be seen in connection with magma. GPS data indicate a further drop of the caldera. Are formed new columns and funnel on the surface of the glacier. It is also normal after so much magma is ausbebrochen, further kolabiert the caldera. Since a huge large cavity is indeed emerged. But you’re the professional, I only a small volcano freak. 🙂

    1. I’m not either a professional (at least not with a degree), but I got many years of experience when it comes to earthquakes and volcanoes. I don’t know everything and I guess I never will.

      1. Nature Photographer – that’s only the last 4 eruptions. If you look at Hekla eruptions over a much longer period the pattern and the average repose period is very different.

      2. Nature Photographer, Over longer periods Hekla only erupts around once to twice a century. This give you an eruption cycles of 30 to 120 years or so. With everything being quiet between those periods.

  4. Veðurstofa Íslands ‏@Vedurstofan 43s44 seconds ago Iceland
    Incr. conductivity meas. in Múlakvísl, gas measurem. show high concentr. of hydrogen sulfide. Do not to travel near river – gas pollution

  5. From an Icelandic friend: Apparently, 6 scientists from IMO had a meeting with paliament commitee this noon, giving update of the current situation and to go over eruption scenarios as well as emergency procedures in case of an eruption in Katla.

  6. Hi Jon,
    are those deeper quakes in Katla today magma starting to move in?

  7. …Preliminary new earthquake measuring the caldera indicates that hot stuff, probably dynamic, is much closer to the surface than has been thought. Kristín Jónsdóttir, Program Director bury the IMO, is never fall asleep to the caldera, there may be soda.
    “It was set out new measures, acceleration sensor, the caldera itself, next to the GPS. Data began to arrive on Monday and we have all the first results of this measurement. They suggest that earthquakes in Bardarbunga are much shallower than we thought before, “says Kristin. …

  8. I’m currently moving data from old hard drive to new hard drive on my main desktop computer. It is going to take few hours to copy everything between the drives. Updates in that period might be slightly delayed if anything happens.

    I’ve also discovered that my backup hard drive (in my main earthquake computer) is now full (only 20GB free). This means I have to add new hard drive to that computer. I hope that I can do that this month, a new hard drive costs 59,95€ in a store in Flensburg, Germany.

    1. Hey Jon, do you need an hard-drive? I got one left what I don’t need (750GB).. If you want to, I send it to you as something like a “material donation” 🙂

  9. I use acronis backup software and this allows varying levels of compression for the backup. I had the same problem and had to increase compression until I got a new drive.

  10. What is the closest SIL stations for Katla? The ones that will show Harmonic tremor best in a buildup to a possible eruption?

  11. I have replaced my main hard drive, turns out that is not the hard drive that is failing in my Desktop computer. So I have to replace my 1TB hard drive also (I just use the old main hard drive in this case, since the 1TB hard drive that might be failing is older).

    I also have 2TB hard drive, if that is failing things get bit more difficult for me. Those hard drive just hold media material and backups.

    1. An earthquake or something. I recorded something at 16:57.01 UTC on Heklubyggð geophone and Böðvarshólar geophone. It appears on my geophone images at .

      I’m looking into the possibly that this might be an odd signal from the New Zealand earthquake (magnitude 7,2). But due to distance I’m doubtful that to be the case. I’m bit baffled at the moment what this is.

      1. Whatever it is, it looks quite different to the earlier quakes. Everything looks normal on the IMO quake map. Hmmm, mystery…

      2. It must be the recent EQ outside New Zealand coast. Matches well time-wise, and it is clearly visible with the same characteristics on all working IMO stations I’ve looked at so far.

      3. Thanks, Jon, for sorting it out. I never understood how seismic waves could travel that far, but I do know that larger EQs in the past (the M7.8 in Ecuador earlier this year, for example) have showed in the IMO plots.

      4. It’s on every station pretty much with similar amplitude but slightly different arrival times; definitely teleseismic IMHO.

      5. It took about 20 minutes to be recorded in Iceland, if you know the distance through the earth between New Zealand and Iceland then a quick head calculation can be made given the typical P-Wave speed range of 6-13 km/s through the core and crust.

      6. The distance from my geophones to the earthquake in NZ was around 16700 km. The P-wave once it got my geophones was all messed up. That means it did travel trough Earth core, got reflected off something deep inside the Earth before it reached my geophones and the SIL station network.

        I see this because the P-wave is far later then expected according to my earthquake measuring program. I’ll put up pictures of this earthquake in next articles so you can see what I mean.

    2. It’s quite fun to learn about how bigger quakes are detectable from far away. It is helpful in learning to read the information from the drumplots. Like today the big quake at Bárðarbunga reads on the drumplots from all over Iceland. Before I would have assumed they were separate events. Man, I have so much to learn.

  12. After doing some checks, it is my view that I need to replace my 1TB and 2TB drive with new ones (sight). They are from 2011 or 2012 and have such a massive uptime that they are both failing. I did also check my earlier 1TB hard drive that I used for the OS. I think it is also no good due to heavy usage, that drive is from 2014. I’ll check it better at later times, maybe if I’m lucky I can use it for something.

    I also started a new website tonight. It’s about technology, it’s a field that I’ve always been good at.

    The new website,

    1. you should stop asking for things in this way…i dont know if you have a job or not. I am following this site since 2011,however a lot of times i got tired of your strategy.

      1. Perhaps if you really had followed the site since 2011 you would understand Jon’s situation and financial needs and pressures. It would then help you not making ignorant comments manolis!

      2. calm down ,this is not Greece let someone follow his dream to get money from our donations and site,in Iceland this site is very helpfull and jon all the time although his problems and the moves to Denmark tries to inform us with his equipment.There is not other way from donations and personal sacrificies ,dont play it clever here

  13. Friday
    02.09.2016 16:02:33 64.615 -17.536 2.1 km 3.5 99.0 2.8 km S of Bárðarbunga
    02.09.2016 16:02:22 64.602 -17.504 0.1 km 3.3 99.0 4.4 km SSE of Bárðarbunga
    02.09.2016 16:02:19 64.616 -17.505 3.5 km 2.8 99.0 3.0 km SSE of Bárðarbunga

    1. Per the DYN drumplot, perhaps some hydro-thermal signatures showed up shortly after the Eq triplet? Given that all three quakes occurred within seconds of each other and in close proximity, one can “loosely” consider this swarm as a single event…therefore the total seismic energy released is closer to a mag. 4

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