Earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano

On the 4th and 6th of January 2017 earthquakes took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. The earthquake on 4th of January had the magnitude of 3,3 (I think) and the earthquake on the 6th of January had the magnitude of 3,5. Both earthquakes where inside the crater of Bárðarbunga volcano, along the fault rims. The reason for this earthquake activity is the inflation of Bárðarbunga volcano, that appears to be rather rapid and mostly steady process. Influx of magma happens in pulses and those pulses are in different size and how long they last.

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

This type of earthquake activity is a regular feature of Bárðarbunga volcano at the moment. I don’t expect that to change any time soon. What might change is the magnitude of the earthquakes happening, I suspect that with time they are going to get more rare but larger in magnitude instead.


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30 Replies to “Earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano”

    1. There are storms taking place in Iceland now every 1 to 3 days, sometimes daily. Increase in wind speed (up to 30m/s) increase the noise floor on the harmonic tremor plots. Currently there might be a storm in the high area, even if wind is mostly quiet on the lower areas.

  1. Another green star (3.5) for Bárðarbunga this morning. Did you miss the deep one last Friday @Jon ? (Source:IMO) Friday
    06.01.2017 09:27:40 64.608 -17.431 25.9 km 1.6 99.0 5.8 km SE of Bárðarbunga

    1. I didn’t see this small earthquake (it happens). But such a deep earthquake says that more magma is now flowing into the system at higher pressure. It would not surprise me if an stronger earthquake swarm was to start soon (or maybe not, it is impossible to know).

    1. I don’t trust people that claim they are “world leading authority” on a subject that is not well known in science. Also, most earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano are due to magma movement, not tectonics. The thing is that tectonic earthquakes do happen, but most of them are outside the main volcano and are known by their signature, most earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano today are Long period volcano earthquakes due to magma movements.

      What is also known is that the magma chamber doesn’t have to be full to erupt, what makes a volcano erupt is not known properly and the layout of the magma chambers (if many) is not well established at the moment. At least one magma chamber erupted in the 2014 – 2015 eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano.

      Carl is throwing around a lot of science words, without knowing the science properly. This is why he is not highly regarded among professionals and other that take this stuff seriously.

      As for Bárðarbunga volcano, nobody knows when it is going to erupt next. What complicates matters this time around is the fact that rifting event is also taking place in this area at the moment. Making a change of a surprise eruption rather high, since fissure might open up, start an eruption without a clear connection to any central volcano. This is all just waiting until something happens next in this area of Iceland.

      As for the article you connect to. I see a lot of text using a lot of word meant to be scientific, but overall this article is not really scientific, it just pretends to be that. I doesn’t contain any explanation that is worth considering and out of contest image of GPS station clearly showing inflation (explained below).

      For instance, the graph he is showing in his article clearly shows inflation, that means the GPS station is moving away from Bárðarbunga volcano and is at the same time moving up, this is not due to tectonic forces as he claims (Carl), but due to magma getting into the crust at shallow depth (1 – 5 km). That image in question is showing the last 12 months and by the looks if, Vonarskarð started to inflate at high rate in June-2016, with the inflation and movement clearly showing from July-2016. You can find the GPS station on this map, it is between Bárðarbunga and Tungnafellsjökull volcanoes,

      As for Carl, I regard him (and his website) as unreliable and they are getting close to fake news status in my books.

      1. know they do not like both and disagree. But it is nice to discuss these different opinions. And everyone has the right to freely express their opinions. 🙂

      2. Agreed …. we all have the right to express our opinions … but self proclaiming to be the ‘world’s leading authority’ is somewhat delusional, arrogant and potentially dangerous!

      3. But at least he is sufficiently smart to add his name to the list of volcano bloggers that warn for eruptions in the wider Vatnajökull area.
        Not to miss the boat as he claimed for 1,5 years to see no signs of reinflation, only recovery. Just a game of words.
        This region is easily readable on short terms: you will be able to read the data and warn in time things might go nuts in the next day’s and weeks.

      4. @Gwen, predicting a volcano eruption in the Vatnajökull area is like predicting wind and rain in Iceland. All you have to do is wait for it.

    1. Know what Mike? I am simply an uninformed but committed observer of all ‘stuff’ relating to Icelandic Volcanoes … I read and listen avidly … and even try to make sense of the ‘science’! The only thing that is clear to me is that all the experts I am aware of are struggling to understand exactly what is currently occurring … so I bristle when one of them declares himself to be the ‘world’s leading authority’ and proceeds to give his opinion as fact rather than conjecture.

  2. I mean this here : but self proclaiming to be the ‘world’s leading authority’ is somewhat delusional, arrogant and potentially dangerous!

      1. Sorry but I see no difference between your map and their map, only difference being, is the features marked. Yours has stations, VC is highlighting the areas of interest during the last eruption and what they think is going on now (the Dykes)

        I also notice above, folk badmouthing and twisting words written. In here you are moaning that someone has called “themselves the leading authority”, when in fact, he is saying “people regard him as such”, which many of the VC regulars do and that is what he is referring to!

        Anyway, everyone has there own views on what is going on, don’t badmouth people just because you don’t agree, give reason instead.

        I enjoy both pages, In my opinion, what Jon says about Katla is where it’s going but Carl on VC is right about Bardy. Just remember they’re volcanoes and we are actually far from knowing everything, let alone accurate predictions!

      2. @Jimbo: Well said.

        I have no horse in this race (or should that be “dog in this fight”?) but bad-mouthing and misrepresenting people in public doesn’t do anyone any good.

      3. @Jimbo, there are differences, the map from Icelandic Met Office shows exactly where the volcanoes in questions are, along with extinct ones to the south-east. Along with SIL stations at the time around Vatnajökull. Fissure swarms are also marked.

        Their map shows a guess work of where next dyke might go, I’m rather sure it won’t go that way since that is now how fissure swarm works, dyke normally always travel along the fissure swarm direction, in this case its close to being south-west to east direction. But there are complication to this, like Trölladyngja, that has erupted several times during the last 12.000 years and I think there is a slight chance of an eruption at that location due to deep earthquakes (<25 km) taking place below Trölladyngja (volcano?).

        This simplified picture that volcano cafe shows of the Vatnajökull glacier area and its volcano is simply not true. The reality is far more complex and what is worse, it's not even properly understood today, even with decades of scientific research into the area.

  3. @Jimbo

    The exacts words are :

    “Being considered the world leading authority on something is probably more of a curse than a blessing. All of a sudden you have a reputation to defend and everyone will be annoyed with you when you do not agree with their interpretation about what is happening.”

    To me that is the person writing the paragraph stating that they are considered to be the world leading authority which to me is ludicrous as there are many scientists professors in Volcanology etc etc that will have this position.

    Edit: added quotation marks. — Jón Frímann.

    1. @ Jimbo Very well written. I agree with her. @ Jon: If you do not allow any other opinions here, this is not much better than the statement of Carl as the leading authority. (Which is by the way Bullshit) However, I think of his opinion very much, as well as of their opinion Jon. But they should also allow other opinions. Even if they are wrong in their opinion. A site like yours lives by different opinions. 🙂 And that is in my opinion well so. In his group on Facebook are even active volcanologists and holders of recognized volcano hompage member. If he wrote only Bullshit, these people would hardly be a member of his group. Allow others opinions and say their opinions. This leads to a lively discussion. And everyone here can then form his own opinion. I hope google translated this now well. 🙂 PS: I also know a lot of people who do not hold your opinion. Nevertheless, I find your site here veryv good and informative. 🙂

      1. I do allow other opinions here and I always have done so. That is why I’m always in such a disagreement with so many people all the time.

        The reality is that however that nature doesn’t care about opinions on what it is doing. It does what it does and all we end up with are the facts of what is happening or has happened. The rest is mostly just guesswork.

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