Magma inflow results in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

On Friday 6th of January 2017 it was noted by one of my readers that a deep earthquake activity had happen in Bárðarbunga volcano, the earthquake in question was a magnitude 1,6 at depth of 25 km. At that depth the only earthquakes that happen are due to magma movement, at that depth the pressure is such tectonic (as explained by Icelandic geologists) earthquakes do not commonly happen at this depth. Today, 8th of January 2017 a magnitude 3,3 earthquake happened in Bárðarbunga volcano at the depth of 7,3 km and the earthquake had the magnitude of 3,5.

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

The inflation of Bárðarbunga volcano is now at considerable levels, it is not known if or when an next eruption happens. It appears, based on historical data that eruption cycles in Bárðarbunga volcano last for up to 20 years (depending), during such time there is an eruption every few years. At the moment there is also a rifting taking place in this area, making already a complex situation a lot more complex and harder to figure out. Since besides the main volcano, a volcano named Hamarinn can also erupt during this cycles. It has already erupted and did so in July-2011 when it had a 8 – 12 hour long eruption resulting a massive glacier flood, but it did not break the surface of the glacier (Vatnajökull).

Good example of this cycle and repeated eruption pattern can be found in historical data on Global Volcanism Program website (link above).

The last eruption cycle took place in the late 19th century and ended in early 20th century. The following eruptions happened (documented, there is a good chance that some eruption might have been missed due to how remote Bárðarbunga volcano is),

1862 June 30 – 1864 October 15 (error margin +- 45 days). Area of eruption was Tröllagígar.
1872 – Date not know nor eruption site, Dyngjuhals suspected.
1902 December – 1903 June. Eruption site not known, Dyngjuhals also suspected.
1910 June 18 – 1910 October, Loki-Fögrufjöll (East loki Cauldron). This is also known as Hamarinn volcano.


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18 Replies to “Magma inflow results in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano”

  1. There used to be a live webcam on Bardarbunga (I think) but I can’t find one now. Does anyone have a link to a BB webcam?

    1. Míla has closed it down. It have it would meant powering it with a diesel power generator and when there is nothing happening it is not worth the cost to them.

  2. Interesting earthquake in Eyjafjallajökull volcano, my geophone recorded it as a volcano earthquake, clearly a sign of magma or a gas (or something). Lack of other earthquakes following this earthquake means that magma is not on the move, rather this is the magma from the last eruption (2010) created this earthquake.

    I don’t expect any more activity in Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

    1. Jon, I would not be surprised though that any leftover magma from the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption mixes with new magma in the next round of eruptions just like magma from 1821-23 mixed with the fresh 2010 magma.

      1. That might well happen, but we won’t know since next eruption won’t happen for the next ~187 years (2197 at the earliest). I’m sure its going to be a interesting eruption once it happens again in the future. 🙂

      2. That sometimes happens (maybe, I’m not sure). But Grímsfjall volcano is just basalt volcano. The reason why it is explosive is due to water mixing (glacier).

      1. maybe for calm periods you could start doing weekly review posts, IE to mention smaller activity that don’t warrant their own post, like for example if during the week there is a 2.5 in katla and a 3 at BB or something.

  3. Yes, it’s likeable.

    Though I’m not sure, you have to be careful with it’s content, linking it without permission of the owner can be an infringement on intellectual property.
    If that (maybe) is the case, undskyld and please remove it Jon. So that no one lies useless awake.

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