Strong earthquake activity on Kolbeinsey Ridge

Yesterday (27.01.2017) and today (28.01.2017) has seen some strong earthquake activity on Kolbeinsey Ridge. Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of Mb4,6 according to EMSC (information here). This area, or area close to it possibly had a dike injection or an eruption in the year 1999. That was however never confirmed.

The earthquake swarm on Kolbeinsey Ridge. Green stars show earthquakes with magnitude above 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The Mb4,6 earthquake as it appeared on my geophone in Böðvarshólar. This image is under Creative Commons Licence, please see CC licence website for more information.

There have been around 5 earthquakes with magnitude above 3,0, I don’t know exact numbers of earthquakes with magnitude around and above 3,0. Due the distance of this earthquake swarm from the SIL network it is difficult for Icelandic Met Office to estimate the numbers and magnitudes of the earthquakes that happen. The distance was around 85 km from Kolbeinsey Island and around 160 km from Kolbeinsey Island. It does appear that two earthquake swarm took place in this area for the last 24 hours, but not much else is known at the moment. This activity is currently ongoing at the moment (I think).


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15 Replies to “Strong earthquake activity on Kolbeinsey Ridge”

  1. Hi Jon,
    The largest I can see on the IMO site is a 3.6 followed by a 3.3 just 8 seconds later

    Saturday 28.01.2017 05:32:36 PM 68.123 -17.652 10.0 km 3.3 99
    116.8 km NNE of Kolbeinsey
    Saturday 28.01.2017 05:32:28 PM 68.623 -17.86 10.0 km 3.6 99
    167.5 km NNE of Kolbeinsey
    and I see a total of 6 of 3.0 and over with a couple at 2.9 as well so are you saying this is a volcanic event?

  2. And if it is a volcanic event would this reduce some of the pressure that has been building under Katla and Bardarbunga?

    1. If this was a volcano eruption, it might not have been a big one or lasted for a long time (difficult to know at this distance). This would not have anything to do with Katla or Bárðarbunga. Volcanoes don’t interconnect and this is far outside the hotspot region (Vatnajökull area). This is a rift volcano of the same nature as you find on Reykjanes peninsula, they erupt during rifting periods.

  3. Monday
    30.01.2017 13:47:05 64.674 -17.457 9.4 km 4.4 99.0 5.0 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  4. Monday
    30.01.2017 13:55:17 64.678 -17.483 10.3 km 3.5 99.0 4.7 km NNE of Bárðarbunga
    30.01.2017 13:50:03 64.658 -17.553 7.2 km 2.6 99.0 2.3 km NNW of Bárðarbunga
    30.01.2017 13:47:05 64.674 -17.457 9.4 km 4.4 99.0 5.0 km NE of Bárðarbunga

    1. Monday
      30.01.2017 15:19:46 64.678 -17.410 8.2 km 3.4 99.0 7.0 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  5. This is unusually strong earthquake swarm. It is taking place at the usual location (north-east part of the caldera) in Bárðarbunga volcano.

    Depth suggests a large dike injection of magma into the magma system in Bárðarbunga volcano. At the moment this is just earthquakes, nothing suggest a eruption is about start at this moment. If this continues that might change.

  6. I presume there will be another giant swarm like in August 2014 when it’s about to erupt again?

  7. It would be nice to see quakes in time graph and maybe see some correlation between volcanoes.

  8. Looks like these quakes are around the North and North East of the rim of the caldera

  9. Seems like Bard & Katla are doing a tit for tat, Katla with a M4+ a couple days ago now Bard ‘replying’.

  10. If I was a betting man, I would say that Katla will respond in the next 3 to 5 days with a set of earthquakes well over the 3 mark. Katla won’t want to be out done by it’s Icelandic rival. ?

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