Strong earthquake activity on Kolbeinsey ridge (26-June-2017)

During the night of 26-June-2017 an earthquake swarm started north of Kolbeinsey island on Kolbeinsey ridge. This earthquake swarm is located around 355 km north of Siglufjörður village making it difficult to know for sure what is going on there. Largest earthquake so far had the magnitude of mb4,4 (EMSC Information), at the moment this is the only earthquake to register with EMSC. Total of 20 earthquakes have been over magnitude 3,0 so far, as this earthquake swarm is ongoing that number is going to change in the next few hours.

The earthquake activity on Kolbeinsey ridge (green stars). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I don’t know yet if there is any eruption at this location. At this distance the SIL network might not register the harmonic tremor of a small eruption or dyke intrusion. Ocean depth at this location is 2 – 3 km and that rules out any major signs appearing on the surface of the ocean. Currently there seems to be a break between earthquake swarms, that is just how it appears as the SIL network is not able to detect any small earthquakes at the distance of 355 km (about) and that means only minority of earthquakes is being recorded. There is also a possibility that this is just a normal rift earthquake activity that happens at this location, the area I think is is a rift valley, but this being a dyke or an volcano eruption can’t be ruled out.

This article is going to be updated if needed.


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24 Replies to “Strong earthquake activity on Kolbeinsey ridge (26-June-2017)”

  1. Thanks Jon for another great article and Jan for the link to the image.

  2. Please remember to support my work. I am terribly broke at the moment and I don’t think July and August are going to be any better. My financial situation is not going to imporve until July-2018 when I pay back all my debt.

    Thanks for the support. 🙂

  3. Arg my PC died again or at least the hard drive the os was on. second time in two weeks this time I had to reset the password for your site and everything!!!
    Donation sent sorry it is not more !
    Is it my imagination or when ever there is action in Kolbeinsey it seems to get somewhat quiet on the rest of Iceland? Just wondering if the rifting process releases some of the pressure building in Katla and Bardarbunga ? Or perhaps the other way around the build up in the south causes the rifting to increase? Thoughts anyone??

    1. Thanks for the support. 🙂

      As for your PC. You can add an extra hard drive (if you don’t have it already) to keep your data save. You can also back-up on-line for off-site backup. I use blackblaze and Google drive and Microsoft One drive (for smaller files) to backup my data.

      It is quiet in Iceland at the moment I don’t know why. Kolbeinsey ridge is its own system, not connected to Iceland.

      You can also set your own password in WordPress. You go to Users -> Your Profile -> New Password and set it to the one you want.

      I still can’t afford https encryption (coming next year I hope). So choose a password not used anywhere else.

    2. Yes, it is inevitably going to the next mother of all eruptions, and there is nothing you can do about it.

      Jack, I have a hard drive somewhere buried deep under dozens of boxes, I think it’s a 40GB. Never used it. Still in good shape. I can send it to you if you want it.

      1. Thank you Porsche for the offer but not needed. Ive got plenty of drives the issue was the drive the operating system was on failed. I feel a bit dumb for having used that drive for the install after my older machine died 2 weeks ago, it was a 200 gig and I had a 1 terabyte that I should have used ( and now am using lol ).
        Passwords all written down this time just in case !

      2. @Porsche928, No. A friend of mine is getting married to her (she is getting married) long term boyfriend.

        In order for me to get married I first need to find a girlfriend and I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

      3. Sorry Jon. It was my understanding that some kind of confirmation was to take place.

        Yes, you’re right, it’s impossible to say when these things happen.

  4. I just checked the Mila webcams to see what Katla looked like. I notice that the overall image looks quite peaceful, with the few clouds moving slowly as if the wind were light. However, the image moves a bit up and down about once every 10 seconds. If this isn’t wind, could it be showing us microquakes in the general area?

    1. There is no micro-quake activity around Katla volcano at the moment. The SIL network around Katla volcano is really dense and can detect even the smallest earthquakes. Down to magnitude -1,5 if the weather is good.

      This might just be a wind moving the camera.

      1. Thanks, Jon. I saw a similar but stronger pattern of image shaking at Bardarbunga and I don’t see it in the webcams at less volcanically-active sites in Iceland so I wondered. I also noticed that the camera motion was all vertical at both sites. Having worked most of my life in the sciences, I am accustomed to having pet theories shown to be wrong. Just part of the discovery process.

  5. Jon that’s another interesting quake at depth around Godabunga this afternoon. You would wonder how much more she will take before tipping point if her chamber is full.

    1. Goðabunga appears to be a different type of magma (dome). When and how that is going to erupt is a good question with no answer at the moment.

  6. The USGS says that one was a 4.8 at 10 k depth ! Is this normal activity for this area between the UK and Norway?

    Looks like Bárðarbunga is getting busy again t 3+ and several 2+ jolts !

    1. This area in the north sea has an earthquake once every 10 years or so at this magnitude. I think this earthquake activity has more to do with oil and gas extraction in this area rather than any tectonic processes. It is possible that this is intra-plate earthquake on its own as there are extremely old fault lines (150+ million years old) all over this area (from Denmark to Norway).

      The best science article I was able to find was this one.

      I’m waiting on Icelandic Met Office to finish it review of the Bárðarbunga volcano earthquakes before I write about it.

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