Overview of the earthquake activity in Iceland of the last few days

Over the past few days it has been quiet in Iceland. There hasn’t been overall lot happening. Biggest earthquake activity that is currently taking place is happening around 340 km north of Kolbeinsey Island (it’s a tiny Island, with nothing on it, not even birds make use of it).

The earthquake activity north of Kolbeinsey Island. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake have had the magnitude around 3,3.

Bárðarbunga volcano

Currently there isn’t much happening earthquake wise in Bárðarbunga volcano. Current earthquake activity has however exposed the ring fault in the caldera, suggesting that its moving upward at decent speed (few mm/month). This also means that Bárðarbunga volcano is inflating as is.

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

Deep earthquake activity is also around Trölladyngja (shield volcano). This deep earthquake under Trölladyngja is unusual and that is my view eruption might happen there soon. It is impossible to know when such a event happens.

Katla volcano

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano has been quiet. It is normal that earthquake activity drops in Katla volcano this time of the year. I’m expecting quiet few weeks in Katla volcano.

There is little earthquake activity in Katla volcano at the moment. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Hekla volcano

Two earthquakes appeared in Hekla volcano on 8-December-2016. No other activity happened after that.

Reykjanes ridge

A minor earthquake swarm took place on the Reykjanes ridge on 8-December-2016. Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,9.

Earthquake activity on the Reykjanes ridge. The earthquake swarm is where the blue dots are. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I think this is most of the earthquake activity that has happened in and around Iceland during the last few days. Due to software problems on my server and on my desktop computer I was unable to write an update about what was happening in earthquake activity for the past few days.


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9 Replies to “Overview of the earthquake activity in Iceland of the last few days”

  1. Thanks, Jón.

    I’m interested by your view that the Bárðarbunga earthquakes suggest that the ring fault system is inflating. There is GPS evidence for that, but after the 2014 events – the faulting and and the damage that was caused to the plug then – wouldn’t we also expect earthquakes to result from subsidence? So perhaps not all that we are seeing is associated with inflation and magma injection.

    1. I asked an IMO contact about this. They’ve said that analysis of the focal mechanism of those ring-fault quakes shows movement in the opposite sense to what occurred during the eruption; i.e. the ‘plug’ is now moving UP with respect to the rest of the edifice as opposed to DOWN. Again this is based of focal mechanism analysis of the much more detailed raw seismic data that they have available to them – not primarily on GPS or anything else.

      1. In that case it would seem it’s transitioned from the post-Holuhraun phase to the pre-eruption build-up phase.

      2. Thanks, Mike. That’s helpful and solid information for us to keep in mind. I infer then that the edifice (on which KISA sits) aswell as the plug are inflating.

        It’d be interesting to know what IMO think of the state of the magma chambers in BB. Iirc, the magma that formed the Holuhraun eruption was unevolved, so in that case, there’s scope for BB itself to erupt in the not too distant future, and all the more so given the weakened state of the plug and edifice… Oh, and didn’t I read somewhere that the cauldrons on the surface have been growing larger since the eruption finished? Hmmm!

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